Ice Breaker – The Hidden Series by Lian Tanner, reviewed by Jill Smith

ice-breaker-aust-coverI was in a session at Somerset Literary Festival in March 2016, and attended a session presented by Lian Tanner. I shook her hand and introduced myself. She got ready for her meeting with the students who attended by running on the spot.

The kids came in and she had the kids give her story ideas. They giggled and joked while she helped ask the important what if questions. They answered and a very bad story started to come together. At the end of this exercise, she said ‘funnily enough I didn’t write that’.

Then she read the prologue to Ice Breaker. The kids were gobsmacked. It is so good, such a hook. You long to know what happened to the metal child. So, I had to buy the book.

Three hundred years after the initial escape from the anti-machinists, Petrel is ‘a nothing lian-tannergirl’ barely living aboard the Ice Breaker Oyster. Her friends the rats Mister Smoke and Missus Slink are the only people she trusts. She had no idea that everything was about to change when she alerted the crew to a frozen boy on the ice. They rescued the boy then bad things started to happen. Petrel finds out who her parents were, and that she is not a nothing girl. The boy, Fin, had been left on the ice as a trap, the anti-machinists lure. Will the crew of the Oyster, now working against each other as separate factions come together? Will they be able to wake the sleeping Captain?

This book is wonderfully written and the first of three books in The Hidden Series, and I’m looking forward to reading the others.

Happy New Year 2017 here we go…

032Happy New Year!

I have big plans for 2017 not the least of which is a trip to go overseas for a double celebration of my 60th Birthday and my lovely husband and I being married for 40 years.

Naturally, I will continue to read and review books. Write more, read more, edit more all the while learning. I believe a writer is on a continual learning curve. Meanwhile, I work to earn the money to be able to travel.

The following is a book review of ‘Cooyar’ by Sandra L Rogers, another talented Australian Author who has published many other books in quite different genres including Beyond Armageddon, It Begins But Never Ends, An Unbelievable Life – Authorised Biography of Lynn Santer.

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 flys, the rough life 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 the 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 with a book that is memorable and a joy to read. I hope she will continue to write more heartrending Australian tales.