Wednesday, 25 March 2015



The traditional husband cheating on wife in this book has a different twist. Many times books have shown the debacle from the wife's point of view, but this author has managed to find a new angle on the scenario. The story starts fairly slowly and I wasn't sure for quite awhile whether this was to be a "family" story, a cozy mystery or morph into a medical murder mystery. Just as I was becoming a restless reader, everything changed! The plot thickened - from the husband's point of view...

Danny is a neurosurgeon and should be smarter than he proves to be, but from here on in, the intrigue deepens...and deepens. Following a family tragedy, Danny is distracted by a pair of eyes staring over the top of a mask in the operating theatre. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive!" Our mums and aunts knew what they were talking about. As Danny struggles with his rapidly changing circumstances, the family's reactions to his predicament show just how much they care about the twit! It is a measure of the author's skill that I felt a little compassion for Danny although I was surprised that he apparently felt no real sorrow or even much guilt for what he'd done to his wife. There was considerable satisfaction in my mind when things went down hill for him! I liked the resilient Sara immensely, but was too engrossed in the twit's problems to worry about her, because she was/is a survivor.

I started reading this book late yesterday afternoon and when I woke up at 3.30am and couldn't go back to sleep, continued to the end. Having had a life-saving operation in 2013, I was fascinated by the descriptions of operations and theatre procedure. I was also amused to see that the author cleverly inserted herself into the action at one stage  :)

Having been highly entertained by this story, I've already started the next one which appears to take up a few weeks after the ending of Bk 1. Will report in again after I've sampled what I am sure will be the delights of Danny's mad life.

ZELLWOOD: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud


The information accompanying this story was quite clear that this is a short story, so those who lambasted the author because this was not a full length book were not paying attention to what they were buying.

A simple story of love and loss, it is beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes. Animals know when their beloved companion dies and anyone who says they don't have souls - for me - is an idiot. Everyone knows that they go to the Rainbow Bridge where they are safe, loved and young again.

Great little story.



Any book with the word "Beethoven" in the title will attract me. Classical music is my passion - I produce and present a weekly classical radio program - so of course I had to read this novella and was highly impressed with Sweeney's use of language to paint a vivid portrait of not only the characters, but of the lives they lived at that time.

The beauty of the face on the cover is a measure of the writing within. Exquisitely presented, this is the story of a woman - perhaps his "immortal beloved" - with whom Beethoven was believed to be deeply in love and to whom he wrote many letters. Although Beethoven fell in love a number of times throughout his life, he was never successful in his pursuits. In spite of his recognised genius, he was considered too lower class for the women to whom he aspired. Beset by illness and court battles over the custody of his nephew, the setting for this novella was the latter part of his life.

Life for women, particularly in the lower classes, in the composer's time was frequently one of slavery. Adela, reduced to relative poverty by her drunken, abusive father's lifestyle, is trapped in the home with him and his predatory assistant. Deprived of her piano and no longer able to enjoy the comforts of the lifestyle to which she was born, her only escape is into the secrets of her mind.

Beethoven, deaf and ailing in health, arrives at an inn to be the subject of an early photograph which necessitates him sitting still for many hours while the image burns into the photographic plate. As crowds gather to leer at the famous composer, Adela and Beethoven get to know each other a circumstance which eventuates in their meeting at a later date.

Sweeney uses a passage in the book to brilliantly sum up the worship of celebrity, painting a picture of society which is re-enacted wherever fans gather to gawk at the famous: " The very notion that he was there made grown men beat each other to the ground and trample each other in an attempt to see him. And the very notion that he was there made grown men forget there's nothing to be gained by seeing somebody who is a stranger to you, who has no place in your life, who has no interest in you and wouldn't care if you never existed. There was nothing to be gained except an opportunity for gross humiliation."(quote from the book).

This summary is familiar to us all, being enacted almost nightly on the television and particularly when theatrical and musical awards are being handed out.

I enjoyed not only the whimsical yet believable account of what may have transpired between Beethoven and a young woman, but also the analysis of the great composer's music.

Highly recommended.

LANE'S END by Australian author, Jill Paterson


Loved this traditional murder mystery! Beautifully written, the characters are a delight, each person's life unfolding without fanfare. Fitzjohn's bossy sister and her intimidated niece to Betts, his sergeant who has a "thing" for Sophie, Grieg, Fitzjohn's nemesis and his belligerent neighbour all play their parts with conviction.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting - Sydney, where I lived for many years - the solid policing and quiet style of the lead character and the lack of erotica - a welcome change!

I shall be reading more of this author's work.

COLD GRANITE by Stuart Macbride


I purchased this book on the recommendation of a member of a forum to which I belong. I was not disappointed!

The character of Logan McRae is realistic and encourages the reader's sympathy for his problems. He has just returned to work after a stabbing attack by a murderer a year previously, and now Logan has to put up with more assaults on his stomach in the course of duty. WPC Jackie Watson, assigned to look after Logan, is a delightful character who excites his interest. Together they endeavour to hunt down the perpetrator of the murders of children before the media - and the hierarchy of the Aberdeen police - fricassee them.

The twists and turns in this novel are classic Scottish policing, well researched and delightfully - if one could call a series of brutal murders and parade of unsavoury characters so - portrayed. The reality of police work, far from being constantly dramatic, is shown as one of slogging through reams of administrative information, door knocking and endless knockbacks.

The opening chapter is grim, alerting the reader to the terrifying prospect of a psychotic killer on the rampage. This does not disappoint, but on the way, McRae and Watson encounter felons of varying degrees. False arrests are rife and the pressure to solve the crime builds inexorably. An unlike ally appears in the form of a flashy, rough reporter who has an informer consistently supplying him with information. Desperate to find out who is revealing secrets, McRae forms an uneasy alliance with Miller. The denouement, when it comes, is obvious upon reflection by the reader.

A brilliant read and highly recommended.

PERFECTION by J.L. Campbell


This story is classic J.L. Campbell, Jamaica's foremost romance writer.

Natasha, young and gorgeous is in a relationship with the unreliable Malik. Time and again, she breaks up with him because of his cheating, but she is lured back into his net. Then she meets Karim, Malik’s cousin. Gorgeous, kind, sexy...perfection! Or so she thinks. The old saying, if it’s too good to be true then it probably is springs to mind. Karim’s hiding a secret which would show former irresponsibility and how his life has changed. Natasha, who is fed up with flaky twits, is disappointed in Karim, but then another secret and a betrayal comes to light!

A terrific and cute story, well written with natural dialogue, this novel is well worth its cost. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next in the Sister series.

Well done indeed!   



Economy of word is the essence of this highly exciting novel! I enjoyed the "Just the facts, Mam" style reminiscent of the old style cop shows, but modern in application.

The hero, Jack, is a complex character who saves a member of the Mafia from an assault and then takes on a job for the Family - just the once, he thinks - but even though he is a sophisticated ex-Marine, he is sucked into a vortex of death unable to find a way out. However, it's a job - no more than cleaning scum off the human pond - and this is shown through the type of people Jack is sent to exterminate. Scoundrels, sadists, murderers of the bodies and of the souls of their victims. There's more to Jack than being a hitman however, and although the reader is not privy to his private thoughts as such, his view of the scum shows a great deal about him. Jack, in fact, needs to be sure that the subject of each hit is unworthy of life.

Seemingly. Jack is unable to love, but just as he is thinking about getting out of the "business" he meets Lauren, herself a victim of the abuse of one of his hits. How Jack saves her and sets up a future for them is intriguing and well written.

This is not the end of Jack and Lauren - far from it - and I am waiting impatiently for the next in the series.

Very well done indeed!



This novel turned out to be a novella, which in itself was okay, but left me feeling unsatisfied. The plot had the makings of what I had expected to be a real thriller, but unfortunately the author did not take advantage of the excellent premise.

George- racked by post-natal depression overhears her husband - whom she has given a terrible time over the months after their daughter's birth - saying that he was taking them all on a weekend away and that would be the end of it all. Of course, George doesn't ask him about this, but goes along with the weekend away in a cottage on a cliff edge.

This novel could have been full length and had wonderful twists and turns, with a breath-taking climax at the end, but the finish of this was very lame. I would loved to have given this more than three stars - and the cover is superb - but because of the brevity and ending, I feel three is as much as it earned.

DRAGON'S MOON by Rebecca Stroud

5 Stars

Well written and fast-paced, the story involves the murders of a pedophile ring at the very top, the US President being the leader. As the members of the ring are killed - or commit suicide - the arrogance of James Drake doesn’t allow for him to feel concern for anyone’s safety, including his own. An abuser since a teenager, his preying on his younger brother, Jon, is a precursor of what is to come. Jon, now a billionaire businessman, has never recovered from his brother’s victimisation or the deliberate running over of his only friend in life, his white German Shepherd.

Is Jon now taking his revenge or is there another Drake victim out there?

Needless to say, no spoilers here!

Short, sharp and to the point, this long "short" story never lets go, as events pile up with breathtaking speed. From the gruesome opening pages to the end, Stroud treats the reader to a thriller which is out of the box.

Well done indeed!

L.A. SNIPER by Steve Gannon


Steve Gannon's books are always good value. I have read the previous Dan Kane novels - all of them - and enjoyed them. This one was no exception.

Gannon manages to make the characters jump out of the page and as this is written in the first person from Kane's perspective, it was doubly satisfying. I liked the pacing, the quality of the writing and in-depth depiction of all the characters. The description of the technical aspects of a snipers 'work" are terrifying and it is a grim reminder that these killers do exist and practice their trade too many times in many countries.

I'm giving no spoilers - I just want to recommend this book most highly to anyone who might be thinking of buying it. You not be disappointed!

BROKEN by Ann Simko


I particularly like books where the author lives close to the edge! By that, I mean the author shows the reader who the perpetrator is and then manages to engage the reader right through to the end. Traditional plots, where the reader is not privy to the killer's identity, abound and are always good, but the former method of presenting a story is riding a fine line between losing tension and keeping the suspense up.

Ann Simko does this in spades!

Those who have read the first three Coyote Moon books will be familiar with the Thomas brothers, Dakota and Montana, but just in case, I won't do any spoilers. In Broken, Montana is forced out of his comfort zone by an infected appendix and this is where the fun starts! Determined to get back to the camp in which his Grandfather keeps the family safe, Montana is stymied by a snow storm, so is forced to stay in the house of the surgeon who operated on him who just happens to be young and beautiful. Unbeknownst to either of them, someone who is seriously mentally ill, is determined to bring down all those responsible - he thinks - for his wife's death a year previously. How Montana and those close to him

This is a well-written and exciting book, straightforward, with enough back-story to, with any luck, bring on a fifth in the series!

Highly recommended!!!!

DEAD SECRET by Richard Milton


Firstly, I have to say that the paranormal is not my genre and I was invited to review this book. I did so with some scepticism, but despite a slow start, I became fascinated by the plot which Richard Milton rolled out.

Tony Gabrieli, a hard-nosed journalist, receives a mysterious summons from a solicitor - this is a British book - upon the death of his mother. Unbeknownst to Tony, his mother was involved with a mysterious group called The Chadwick Foundation. Astonished to discover that his mother was far more than the suburban housewife she purported to be, he receives a file of papers and a box in which is something equally amazing. So, Tony is introduced to the science of physiognomy and the dangerous, deadly sexual ritual which could get him killed.

Using clever back story, the plot starts at the French Revolution and follows on to the Second World War, as Milton lures the reader into the paranormal underworld, where governments play with lives and highly connected men and women buy and sell unthinkable objects for priceless sums.

After Tony meets the fascinating Eve and is introduced into her circle, he – and the reader – finally begins to understand just what he is facing. The disgraced scientist, Cesar Casimir, leads Tony into a deadly maze where he is forced to use his hitherto unacknowledged precognitive skills to stay Eve his lover or his killer?

The book begins energetically, but it took awhile for me to work out what was going on. At first reading it appeared that Tony Gabrieli was an ordinary journalist chasing a story, but as the story progressed, I became aware of a strong sense of foreboding. As I got to know the main character, I began to have grave concern for his safety – a mark of the talent of Milton – and was soon swept into the by-plays and dangerous secrets with which the characters are engaged.

I would have liked to have known more about Gabrieli’s mother – how she became a trustee of the Chadwick Foundation – but this was only part I felt could have been explained further. I didn’t particularly like the character of Eve, though I suspect that she was supposed to have this effect on the reader.

Thoroughly enjoyed this well written and intricate story and thought the ending was the only way it could have happened. No spoilers here!

Highly recommended.



Firstly, the cover set the scene and the novel went on from there.

I liked the beginning where Sylvie takes off and keeps driving, realising that to go ahead with the wedding would be the worst mistake of her life, but I wanted to hear more from the family about what happened when she didn't turn up! However, there is a mystery in this book which explains much - no spoilers!

The characters are intriguing and the heroine one in whom I could invest concern. I wanted to slap the hero out a few times for his - typically male - ideas about how to conduct a relationship. Having had a "difficult" relationship with my mother which was not unlike Sylvie's with hers, I could understand the ongoing angst involved. Waiting for Sylvie to finally "turn the worm" as it were, was excruciating.

The only disappointment with this book was that none of the characters had an animal and I think a resident cat in a cosy, country town B & B is mandatory! :)

A very pleasant and - to a certain extent - laid back read.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015


Quite frankly, I wonder just how many serial killers are wandering around over there in America! Thankfully not too many when my husband and I were there two years ago and certainly not in Boston, a charming city which we thoroughly enjoyed and which is featured in this novel!

Cameron, a nurse, has managed to get over being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend three years previously and is finally finding her romantic feet again. She has the help of two flatmates - the unsociable Greg and the outgoing Karl. Now she is ready to move into a new apartment, and more than ready to start a new romance, which she does. However, fate has other things in store.

This a fast-paced plot which has more twists and turns than a cobra - but gory! It seems a serial killer who is devoted this craft is at work, and the final goal is, of course, Cameron.

I liked the character of Cameron, even though she does some really stupid things - as the heroine are wont to do in these situations - and over all I liked the book. I felt for the main male heroes - yes there are two, the detective and the Assistant District Attorney - but did pick the perpetrator about halfway through. This is did not impinge on my enjoyment of the whole.

I must say I do try to avoid books with serial killers in them now as the theme has been done to death with CSI and NCIS and all the usual suspects on TV, but this book was pretty good.

Good work!

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Seb Kirby's Take No More is what I like to think of as the "traditional" thriller which, as he himself has said, pits the ordinary man against great odds and thereby proves that person is certainly not ordinary.

The plot works around stolen art works and the possibility of many being hidden under layers of other works – either by the original artists or by people hoping to hide them. Collectors would pay millions for well known ones but of course if they can get away with murdering instead, that is faster and cheaper.

The story starts dramatically with James coming home after a day’s work to find Julia, an art restorer, dying inside the front door. Horrified, he calls the police and of course finds himself the chief suspect. Except for a copy of Julia’s downloaded files, he had no clue as to what she had done or with whom she’d associated in order to be murdered.

His brother, Miles, an investigative journalist and his partner Sergio, have unwittingly poked a crocodile with a stick – Alfieri and Alessa’s corrupt business dealings may well get them all killed.
The main character of James Blake, a likable man, is straightforward. We do not know many of his innermost thoughts which do not concern the job in hand, that of solving the mystery into which he has been plunged by the death of his wife. Obtaining information, keeping alive and in the meantime, revenge, are his only goals.

As in all good traditional thrillers, there are myriad twist and turns, some of them delightful, others heartbreaking. The dialogue is natural and flowing, the plot well laid out and easy to follow. Some authors – in my opinion – make their plot so intricate that the average reader, especially me, is lost in a maze of over-cleverness.  The pacing is fast but slows to allow the reader to catch her breath and then soldier on. One of the surprises in this novel, is that the author has actually managed to make me sorry for one of the murderers. That is a feat worth mentioning!

Highly recommended.

Saturday, 17 January 2015


I'm a fine one to tell other people how to write - I'm still learning and will be until the day I cark it - which at my age mightn't be too far away  :)

However, here are some tips for someone who might like to have a go and why not? As "they" say, you'll never know until you try!

Firstly, read read read! 

Most authors write what they enjoy reading, so I would suggest that initially you focus on crime, romance, historical - whatever your "bag" is. After you have decided what you want to write, then you have to learn to write it!

While you're reading observe how the author phrases imagery, how dialogue is dealt with. Decide what  you like about the book you are reading - does it feel good and would you write in that style? I don't mean copy or plagarise of course, just think about how you would write the same book. 

You need to join a writer's workshop group, this is a fantastic way to try your writing out, perhaps with short stories first, and receive critique from your peers. You will also get the opportunity to give your own critique of their writing. This is a fabulous way to learn how to write and decide which genre you want to try. 

 A good way to learn is to start writing drabbles - 100 word complete stories - and then droubles - 200 word complete stories. These are invaluable for practice in tightening up manuscripts.

One of the common problems with which I wrestled and still do, is passive vs active writing. 

Passive: E.g. The dog was chasing the rabbit as fast as he could. 

Active: The dog chased the rabbit at full speed.

Watch your "that" and "which" - a common fault of mine is getting them mixed up - and for goodness sake do NOT use "You done good" and drop your "ly" at the end of the words when they're called for!

So - go to it and good luck  :)

Friday, 16 January 2015


I've just had the fright of my life! My friend, Andrea, rang to tell me that somehow some terrible pornographic images had come up on my FB page!!

If anyone is the recipient of these, please delete them and accept my sincere apology. I would never even LOOK at images like these. much less post them up for all the world to see.

I do not know how some things happen in cyberspace. It is possible that I retweeted a message by mistake, which was linked to other images. That is the only reason I can give for this to happen.

I have discovered that I did Follow (by mistake) a young women who dabbles pornography and of course, when she tweeted to her followers - well, you guessed it! It wasn't her fault - it was my own for not being more careful and savvy.

Please forgive!

Sunday, 11 January 2015


Oh dear, I cringe every time I read "You done good" or "I done good" in contemporary fiction. Is this the way people speak?

Yes, I think it is because I have heard it over and over. It's all very well for the pundits to say that language changes over time, but this is ridiculous! Bad grammar, bad spelling - yes, I am guilty of that too - but never in a million years would I say to someone - "You done good!"  For those who don't know what I am talking about it's - "You've done WELL!" or as I have heard lately, the dropping of the "ly" as in "He did perfect."

I'll be back to finish this blog as soon as I find out whether Roger Federer or Milos Raonic wins the Brisbane International Tennis!

Okay, so The Fed won and it's now Wednesday night and the commentators are working on Rafa Nadal and a young Aussie kid, Omar someone playing the new Fast tennis. The opinionated young man who is explaining a point has just used a term I hate - "to the get go"!  "Get go"????? What about "from the start"? Perhaps that is not "baseball worn back to front" hip speak!!

Another woman on TV - who should know better - said tonight, "It works more effective!" I can't remember what she was talking about but the tendency to cut the "ly" off words is expanding rapidly as I have mentioned earlier on this blog.

I have never been able to come to terms with starting a sentence with "and" or "but," however this has become commonplace in modern fiction. Having done quite a bit of Beta Reading, I have discovered that this is endemic among young women devoted to chicklit. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. The worst of it is I find myself doing it too  :(  Occasionally. Rarely.

Coupled with this deplorable habit, is another - the idea that if the book is written in short sentences it will be more exciting!! Hellooooooooooooo? I was always taught that short sentences raise the tension and that this method should be kept for that. Imagine reading a book where every sentence consists of no more than around six words!!

The final whine I have today is the use of dashes as punctuation! There is a strong tendency among many to use a dash instead of a comma and the penchant for using brackets to enclose what should be normal script, is horrendous!

What is left of my mind, "boggles."

I read a lot – my husband will attest to that – and just lately it has dawned on me what is lacking in many contemporary novels. Imagery!! Sights, sounds and smells, the intricate details which set time and place.

I am not sure why this is so, but yesterday, while reading a novel, I couldn’t get a sense of where the characters were or even that there was a change of speakers! I knew they were in a house, but what sort of house? Were there pictures on the walls? Was it old fashioned or modern?

Unfortunately, this is all too common in the latest paperback or e-books, as is jumping from scene to scene with nothing to indicate why or where. Many writers seem content to let their characters talk, go shopping, have sex and occasionally go to work. Fine, you say?

Certainly, but where is the detail I would expect to find in a well-written story? What are they seeing, hearing and smelling? Is the scent of flowers drifting in from the garden? Is there anything cooking on the stove? Is there cat hair on the cushions? Where is the attention to detail which makes a mundane novel into a great one?

A novel I read recently detailed a list of what the heroine bought and lots of sex, but this was a murder mystery as well! The shopping and sex took up three quarters of the plot leaving the murder to be crammed into the last quarter. The build up lacked tension, and the minutiae of the killer’s motive was so mysterious as to be non-existent! All the reader got were his thoughts: “She is mine, mine, mine!” As far as I was concerned, he could have her, because I didn’t care enough to worry about her.

Let us take a look at a couple of examples:

“Let’s go and have some dinner,'” she said. They walked into the restaurant and ordered fish to go. Back at the house they ate and washed up and went to the bedroom. “

Then followed some very detailed sex. How riveting is that?

Okay, how about:

“Let’s go out to dinner,” she said, smiling. 

He turned away from the city lights shining through the huge lounge room window. “Where do you want to go?”

“There’s a new fish cafe just down the street with low lighting and soft jazz.” Her hand poised over the stereo, mouth watering as the thought of hot, crispy chips and grilled trout with lime filtered through her mind. Her stomach growled and she hoped he hadn’t heard.

“We’ll get something in.” He moved quickly across the room and took her in his arms, “I don’t want to share you, even with the waiter in a restaurant.” 

Suddenly, all thought of dinner was forgotten...

Not sure why he was gazing at the city lights instead of attending to her, but for the purposes of example – we know that she is hungry, wants to go out and eat but he has one thing on his mind (so what’s new?) and is quite happy to let her starve for the moment. She shouldn’t get too involved with him! This is a spur of the moment, made up scenario and a bit rough, but you get the picture?

The first example, exactly from the book - I don’t want to identify it- gives the reader nothing in ambience, but when you get to the sex there is far too much information, trust me!

Another scene with a couple walking, taken from The Naked Room:

‘The leaves on the trees beside the drive rustled in a gentle night breeze. Stars blazed in the Milky Way giving dim natural light, augmented by the torch. An owl hooted nearby. By mutual consent, we didn’t speak. The only sound was our footsteps and Benji’s nails clicking on the tarmac as he panted along in front. My back cringed as though in the sights of a sniper’s rifle. Somewhere, someone was watching us, probably through night glasses.’

And from another piece in the first example, also with a couple walking:

‘They walked down the road to the river and along the path. Why didn’t he talk, she wondered, but didn’t want to upset him. When they got to the end of the path they turned back, got in the car and drove back to the house.’

Uh? What house, where was the river? Were there ducks on the river, people rowing, fishing, what sort of day was it? Were there barbeques in a park nearby, sending the enticing aroma of sausages or steak through the air? Were there children screaming and chasing each other through the grass? Did they pass anyone on the way there or back? Why didn’t she want to upset him? Sadly, the paragraphs before and after only indicate that he is angry about something, she doesn’t know what and is afraid to ask. Some relationship!

So much more could have been added with a few lines of imagery to set the scene and make the reader care about the couple. Later in the plot, we find out that his father has died and she thinks, in time honoured fashion, that he is angry with her, but he won’t tell her what is wrong so and she won’t ask...blah blah... but by this time, I didn’t give a darn what they did. Is this minimalist style of writing the latest fashion? Is life moving so fast now that people don’t want to be slowed down by such things as imagery?

Lee Childs’ superb minimalist writing of Reacher’s travels and Spartan way of life seem to lose nothing in the ambiance. Kenneth Graham in Wind in the Willows is filled with sights sounds and smells along the river bank and in the wild, wild wood. Which of these famous novelists is right? And why do we enjoy their work so much?

Lee Child’s is a natural story teller. He has perfected a character who I suspect we all would like to be or to know – seemingly free and untamed, going where he likes with few worldly goods to slow him down. Women like sexy Jack’s love and leave ‘em style; men envy his resilience and irresistibility to women.

Reading Wind in the Willows wafts the reader into a dreamlike state, as though he or she is actually living in the painting, where Rattie rows on the river and Mole, a fussy, solitary little animal, is coaxed into an adventure with Badger and Toad. One can smell the damp undergrowth, the scent of wildflowers in spring and feel the ever present danger of predators.

 Kenneth Graham depicts an innocence which is reflected in the sights, sounds and smells of the river bank and the wild wood. This is a place where many would like to get away from the stresses of our lives and for a time escape into the imagery which he so cleverly weaves throughout the tale. Graham draws the reader so deeply into the story, that the incongruity of a rat, a mole, a badger and a toad travelling together becomes perfectly feasible. Thus the power of imagery!

So to sum up that which is obvious and about which I have waffled, sights, sounds and smells whether sparsely or lavishly presented, are necessary for the successful novel and contemporary writers would do well to remember this.

Friday, 2 January 2015


So here we are in 2015 - and good riddance to 2014. The last couple of weeks were too awful to contemplate - a siege by a Muslim extremist who should have been in gaol where he belonged and a woman goes and murders eight children. I do not know how to cope with these things, especially the latter. The sad fact is that there will be more of the same incidents down the track.

Heat and humidity seem to be the "go" this summer. I am so sorry for all the animals whose idiot owners can't be bothered or who are too stupid to realise that their pets need protection and caring. Wish I could stand the owners out in the sun for hours or lock them in cars and leave them in the car park. I can't get over the number of farmers who don't think animals need shade. Well, duh - stupid me. Why would the cows and horses be hiding the trees on a hot day? Of course it couldn't possibly be that they want shade!

I volunteer for the Animal Welfare League op shop in Boonah. Monday morning we open again and let's hope lots of people come and buy things! On Tuesday Andrew and I are taking our two grandchildren, Ally and Ben, to see Paddington the movie and then bringing them back out to our home for a two day visit. Looking forward to spending time with them, and then we'll probably spend Friday resting up  :)

This year I have to write A DARK AND LONELY PLACE, the next in the Susan Prescott series. When I first started with THE NAKED ROOM, I had no idea that there would be three more books to come - THE CELIBATE MOUSE and  AFTER ARIEL. So far N/Room has 33 five star reviews, C/Mouse has 28, and A/Ariel has 7. Let's hope the new one exceeds all!  However, I have my doubts.

It is said by many gurus in the field that the nature of book sales is changing yet again. Apparently it will be harder to sell books this year than last, and I must admit I found it hard then! I think everyone who is going to read the first two books has done so and there are no more reviews in the offing. I do wish I could get more for A/Ariel but you never know ! Things could change yet. With 4 MILLION books on Amazon, the hardest part is making one author's work stand out!

Well, that's all for today. I have to take the nanny nap which is holding the old bones together!

Next blog - the art of writing the drouble and the drabble! What are they? Wait and see...

Bye for now.



I have read books where the premise is somewhat the same - a person is in an accident or gets injured and attains powers hitherto denied them. However, JJ White's plot takes this premise a lot further.

Gavin is injured in an explosion which kills two other people, the one who caused it and an innocent bystander. For thirty days Gavin is in a coma but he awakens to a different world, one of colour and fame. Having been set for the future as a sportsman, he is bemused to find that his talents now lie in mathematical equations, art, classical music and chess! Life is looking up, especially for his ambitious father who sees financial possibilities in his son's changes. As Gavin's life deteriorates, the reader soon becomes aware that someone has been paid to put an end to him and all he holds dear. The reason behind the attempts on Gavin's life become apparent toward the twist at the end when a master manipulator reveals himself.

Sometimes readers and certainly people who fancy themselves as art critics, try to put their own spin on the writer or artist's motivations. In this case, it would seem to me that the author asks the reader to examine whether fame and fortune is all it's cracked up to be and is it what we really want? Could we handle the responsibility that comes with fame and fortune?

The ending leaves the option to continue the story - but does not leave the reader up in the air.

With the exception of Gavin, the characters do not come across as sympathetic, and nor should they. Sharon, who comes into contact with Gavin's dark side, can be forgiven for not wanting to repeat the experience. Gavin's increasing paranoia and decreasing control over his own destiny are and cleverly drawn. The writing flows articulately.

I agreed to review this book - I do not know the author and have never read anything by him previously - but I will definitely read another of his works if given the opportunity.    $3.79 on Amazon.