Book Reviews Adults

McAllister coverThis memoir covers an eighteen-year span of Jenny’s life from her meeting and falling in love with her man who took her to a property that was as remote as any can be in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

It is a testament to her love for her husband, the property and the firm friendships she made with people who offered generous hospitality and advice. Her love for her man and their determination to make McAllister into a working property that was sustainable and profitable. She learned to work hard on horseback, cooking for her own and extended family and friends, creating a garden and much more. Jenny was very adaptable and capable.Jenny-Old bio pic

Together they battled the climate of flooding rains, droughts and the bust in beef prices which threatened to make them sell. Rick her ever enterprising husband found new ways to make their lives work by always seeing new ventures as a challenge. She worked hard and when diversification by creating the Burke & Wills Roadhouse to service travellers through the remote community, she rose to the challenge.

Her steadfast and resilient nature ensured they created from nothing but a shed and 50-gallon drum, a thriving property with a lush garden, lawn and rose bushes. Jenny raised her two boys on the property becoming a parent-teacher by necessity and always relying on their two way wireless as communication. No such thing as a telephone for remote homes and their innovative nature rose to the surface in ensuring the property became a Jenny Old McAllister bookfocus of parties with a steady stream of visitors arriving unannounced.

Their families were tremendous support but lived far south and on the Gold Coast. Places only visited on rare holidays. Pictures in the centre pages show happy faces of friends and neighbours, their dogs and mustering. Their sons Anthony and Ben had a free from television and telephones upbringing.

It was only after the property became successful, their roadhouse a thriving business and saleable, their two sons grew old enough to attend boarding school, another necessity due to their remote location, that they considered selling McAllister.

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman reviewed by Jill Smith

wildflower hill coverHaving read many of Kim Wilkins books in the Gothic Horror genre such as ‘Angel of Ruin’, or Gina Champion young adults series, when my friend said you should read Kimberley Freeman books, I thought I’d give her a go in this genre.

The story in the present bound together with a story from the past.

Beattie is a young woman in trouble. What will she do? Her Henry finds her and takes her away with him to Tasmania, on the other side of the world, away from Glasgow in Ireland. A few short years later with Lucy her daughter, she finds life difficult. Henry gambles and drinks away their money. She’s always having to ask for credit and when it runs out, she is desperate. Henry becomes abusive and Beattie takes matters into her own hands.

Emma, Beattie’s granddaughter, is a prima ballerina and she knows nothing of her grandmother’s past life or struggles. She is self-absorbed in her world in London. Her grandmother had died but left her ample fortune to charity. A point of contention for Emma’s mother and uncle. When Emma is ditched by her boyfriend her world comes crashing down around her. She pushes her body too hard, then knee injury forces her to return to Sydney to her mother. That’s when she discovers that Beattie left something in her will for her, a house in Tasmania called Wildflower Hill. What she learns there when cleaning up the house to sell, is that Beattie had a mysterious past. In searching for answers, Emma learns a lot about herself, makes friends and discovers that the life she believes she is wanting may not be her future.

I loved this story and know that from now on anything Kimberley Freeman will be on my to read list. But that not surprising as I’ve always loved her writing.


The Sending -The Obernewtyn Chronicles – Book Six by Isobelle Carmody, Book Review by Jill Smith


isobelle carmody profile picAs with all of The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody, this book is difficult to describe briefly. It is simply another episode in the journey Elspeth Gordie is making in the Quest she has been set upon since the first book. Interwoven with her many talents including self-healing, she continues her journey.

This book is divided into three sections. The first is heartwarming in that at Obernewtyn as Guildmistress, her true love Rushton, Guildmaster to Obernewtyn finally returns. They consummate their love and forge a link between them.

The second part of the book is her journey away from her home and life at Obernewtyn and all those she loves. It is a heartbreaking journey she takes with her old and fey cat Maruman, and Gahltha the stallion, both who travel on the dream trails with her as her guardians. This journey takes them to meet up with a pack of wolves who also form a part of Elspeth’s Quest to stop them before time computer machines Sentinel being woken and permanently destroying the world already blighted by the taint of the Great White.

The third part of the book sees Elspeth reunited with those she loves and gives her courage to continue her journey. Her band of friends all learn more about the Quest during a journey across the black lands led by the wolves, facing illness due to the taint and frightening encounters with carnivorous, bat-like creatures along the way. Tthe sending coverhey learn more about themselves, and the journey each of them made to reach this point and to be at Elspeth’s side on this perilous journey.

As a writer, who has been to courses and had been told many fundamentals about writing, one being ‘to limit the number of characters in a story’ as it’s confusing to readers; this book and whole series, does not adhere to that theory, with over five pages of characters listed. All the characters form layers over layers pushing the story further with Elspeth Gordie as the main character.

I found the ending frustrating as the hook leaves the reader gasping to read the next book. After 750 pages this is no small tome.  I eagerly await the final chapter in The Red Queen.


cooyar-coverBook Review by Jill Smith©Dec16

Title: Cooyar

Author: Sandra Rogers

Publisher: Zeus Publications

I loved this book. I had to re-read the first chapter after I got to the end.

It’s a beautiful story about the joys and hardships of living on a property in central Queensland. Cooyar is vividly brought to life, the dust and the flies, the rough life of the characters and the love that develops on the soil.

Frances is the property owners head-strong daughter. She loves Cooyar and going to boarding school to make her a young lady is Jess and Malcolm’s only sacrifice. They are pleased with the result when she comes home for her fourteenth birthday party. The head stockman Will is her best friend. He understands the connection Frances has with the land.

Their link with each other becomes heightened as they grow older. They kiss just once when Frances delivers the evening meal for the stockmen. Granny sees them kiss. Disapproving she sends Will on a holiday to Darwin to be with his Aboriginal family.

The drought that cripples the country breaks with a flood. As often happens in Australia the extreme conditions dictate the lives of those choosing to live on the land. Frances returns to the farm to find Will has returned to help. They consummate their love for one another.

Frances returns to her city life and Will joins up to fight in WWII. When sandra-rogers-piche is reported missing and believed dead, she impulsively marries a sailor, Arnold Smith who is deployed on the HMAS Vampire which is sunk. Arnold is rescued and returns to Australia where they settle down on their own cattle property Wongadoo and raise their son Barry. But they are not destined to live a happy life.

I loved the real-life feel to this story, particularly the end which is very fitting.

Sandra has returned to writing a book that is memorable and a joy to read. I hope she will continue to write more heartrending Australian tales.

10 thoughts on “Book Reviews Adults

    1. Now I have your beautiful book, I will review it and put it on my blog, also send it to GCW, PIO, and maybe a few more. The GCW meeting is next Sat and I’ll take it with me to show other authors your work. Thanks again Betty. I showed a friend from work yesterday and suggested she get a copy for her grandchildren.

    1. Hi JD, Sure if you can send me via email a PDF. I’ve just finished reading Tapestry so before I get into another book, it’s a good time. Is this ‘Silent Cats – Deadly Dance’ ?

  1. Good Morning

    I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog and just wanted to give you a heads up about my non-fiction book,Legends over Generations. I’m looking for help getting the word out about it and would appreciate any mention you can make, either on your blog or elsewhere.

    Thank you!
    Author Bio

    Ashraf Haggag has spent nearly three decades in the corporate business world. He currently works as a senior executive in the hospitality industry.

    Haggag has direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, his global experiences have helped him realize that companies must target new market zones in order to grow and prosper in the international marketplace. He is eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders.

    Book Bio

    Right from the beginning of human settlement, a lot of people came up with ideas, philosophies, beliefs, experiments, research, redesigning of thoughts, talents, and surveys to bring myths to reality.
    People contributed to various life aspects science, politics, literature, arts, social activities and so many other fields. These genius minds put a keen interest in every phenomenon right from when they were young. The zeal, passion, dedication, hard work and the effort they put in their work helped them discover something new about the world we live in. The present picture of the world that we see would not have transformed without the contribution of these great personalities. Great philosophers and masterminds that existed from the ancient Greek era to the present day. The following chapters commemorate the greatest personalities we’ve ever seen who changed the world.

    Ashraf Haggag

    1. Hi Ashraf, send me details via email, I appreciate you are a follower of mine, been pretty busy of late but follow the instructions on The Book Review Directory page and I’ll see if I can take a look at your book – ta Jill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.