Archiving 2010 Book Reviews…

Check out the Book Review Tab for new 2012 Book Reviews, my latest review of Katherine Howell’s crime thriller ‘The Darkest Hour’, along with some from 2011. I’ve written many more and these have been published in various places, mainly Gold Coast Writers e-Writeabout, also PIO, Goodreads have most of my reviews from previous years. More on the way as I’ve read five more books since the beginning of the year.

Book Review

Title:      Mama Kuma One woman, two cultures

Author:   Deborah Carlyon

Publisher: UQP

This is a wonderful journey of Deborah discovering her Grandmothers extraordinary strength and her own cultural heritage. Deborah really gets into the details of village life, explaining her culture through her grandmothers eyes and experiences.

My heart warmed to everyone cares, hands on approach of raising children, and the daily village life in the remote PNG highlands. Of course, they did not know they were in a remote village. Their world was the village and keeping it safe from other from raids was the responsibility of the Chief, Kumas’ father.  As a girl, Kuma was the first person to make contact with the strange mangare gages, who were thought to be spirits of the dead who now roamed their lands.

Kuma literally took the white man by the hand and led her people into uncharted territory. How her marriage to the white man, changed the whole village, and her golden girl daughter Ba being educated away from the village affected their daily life. The depth of raw emotion and extremes of display at loss are vividly described.

The great reverence and respect Kuma engendered as a strong woman, spiritual person, and family lynch pin lasted her entire life.  The poem at the front of the book speaks volumes, a segment of which follows.

Mama Kuma was held by many hands, suckled by many breasts,

and loved by many mothers.

Her soul drew from the fountains of fresh air, nature,

And timeless wisdom, from traditions and

rituals which were believed and alive.

This is a wonderful book and truly deserved to be a Queensland Priemier’s Literary Award winner. As a gift for the reader in your life, or as a treat for yourself, this book can be purchased for only $20 on line through

Book Review

By Jill Smith © October 2010

Title: Wild Spirit

Author: Annette Henderson

Publisher: William Heinemann: Australia

In Wild Spirit, Annette relates an enormously heart-warming and heart-wrenching episode in her life.

After meeting and marrying her soul mate Win, they plan an adventure driving across Africa in a Kombi van. This episode is about their time in Gabon, where they found themselves without cash due to a robbery, or even a safe place to park the Kombi. Fate stepped in when an ex pat working in Gabon came to the rescue. Win, as a builder, was asked to reconstruct an old mineral exploration camp that was being reopened with the support of the Gabonese government. As Annette spoke some French she could assist with translating for the Gabonese laborers and the international team of workers, she was also taking on the job.

The journey was amazing in itself, the Belinga camp being deep in the interior of the jungle. Annette and Win discovered a love of nature and the jungle, and particularly the rare and abundant animal life. This was tempered with the realization that the natives ate bush meat, including Gorillas and rare and endangered species.

Annette’s turning point in life came with the arrival at camp of a badly wounded baby female gorilla. She helped Win, with their friend and co-worker Rodo, clean and tend the wounds.  They named the little gorilla Josie, and tended to her every need, helping her recover both physically and partially mentally. The management of the camp, radio links with the outside world, building accommodation for surveyors and other workers, still had to go ahead. When the boss realized a baby gorilla was disrupting the operation they were forced to find a new home for Josie. This proved to be more than Josie’s frail constitution could bear.

The life in the jungle held fascination and danger in the same instance. Annette shows the reader the depth of awe she felt for her surroundings, and her delight in being able to meet gorillas. Her determination to change her life, and the depth of helplessness she felt at the natives continued slaughter of wildlife, is clearly relayed in this volume.

I couldn’t put this book down. I applaud Annette for delivering this powerful story of her incredible adventure. To purchase your copy of this book go to RRP $34.95.


By Jill Smith © March 2010

Title:      Transported – A Pioneer’s Story

Author:       Terry Spring  

Publisher:  Terry Spring

This is a wonderfully presented tale that Terry has skillfully woven together from a brief family history and gritty research.

George Smith in later life known as ‘Dusty Bob’ forged a remarkable life in a fledgling New South Wales colony in the early 1800’s. He hailed from a small rural community in England and suffered the loss of his family to the Pox, so as a lad he set out to London, to make a new life. What he found in the grimy world there was misery, hard work, starvation and desperation. This led to him doing an unthinkable act attempting robbery to survive. The immediate arrest and punishment took him to the other side of the world to a new land with immense opportunities.

The transportation was an ordeal in itself, lightened only by the friendship of a rascal called Matthew, a friend to him in London with whom he shared the prison chains aboard ship. Their arrival in the new colony heralded two very different paths in their life journey. From the outset the naïve George held out hope for a better future. He could see, even as a prisoner, with many years of hard work ahead of him, that he colony offered something he could never have in England – land ownership.

Using the skills he’d gained with animal husbandry and an ability to work in solitude George forged a life in the strange new colony, being accepted as a government man who did their bidding willingly. When he got his Ticket of Leave, after many years work, he continued to contribute to the founding of Dubbo in New South Wales. He lived through drought, seeing the native community decimated, and survived the loss of two wives while raising his family.

Terry is now happy to announce that she is now back from her USA jaunt and doing several speaking engagements to promote Transported. A Lecturer at Griffith Uni is also using her book for her Marketing students project. As a Life Time member of the club we should be proud and happy to support Terry in her success.  Transported is available through-Red Hen for $24.95, or go to her website


About jillswrites

I am a writer of SciFi Books 'Dual Visions' and it's follow up 'Vashla's world'. I also write book reviews, articles and short stories. Several of my short stories appear in a collaborative book for children called Fan-tas-tic-al Tales written in conjunction with my fellow members of The Ten Penners, this was a follow-up book to 'Shock, Horror, Gasp'. Fan-tas-tic-al Tales was released in 2009, now available in hard copy and on Amazon. We are currently in the completing our next adventure based anthology called 'Mystery, Mayhem & Magic' scheduled for release later in 2017. As a member of BookCoasters the Gold Coast Library blog, complementing my own blog, I enjoy blog being able to showcase my work. My book reviews appear in PIO (Pass It On) and e-Writeabout. I'm a happy Grandmother to two beautiful girls, wife of the ever tolerant Clive, mother of our son Simon. I work part time and lead a busy life.
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