Sunday, 31 December 2017

New Years Eve

If there was one place I could be this New Year's Eve, I wish it was my Grandpa's farm in far east Gippsland. (Sadly, this cannot be because the farm was sold just before Grandpa passed away.)

The only music would be the sound of the cicadas, instead of the loud cacophony coming from the neighbours.

We would watch the stars, instead of the fireworks (many of which are illegally set off).

The only drinking would be cups of tea/coffee as we chatted about the memories from the year just ending and our hopes and dreams for the year to come, instead of the raucous, crude language coming from people around us who have consumed too much alcohol.

And, I wouldn't have to explain to people that I actually find New Years Eve a difficult day to navigate because today would have been my Dad's 63rd birthday and I miss him.

So Dad, Happy Birthday!

And to everyone else, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Grief ... You Don't Just "Get Over It"

I can tell you now that grieving the loss of someone special doesn't end. It is different as time goes on, and the intensity lessens over time, but there is always an element of grief because you will always miss that person this side of heaven (or that they are no longer around to share things with - like you're grieving over the time that you don't have with them).

I was reading an article today called '10 Things You Should Know About Grieving People'. There are a lot of good things written in it.

When my Dad passed away 6 years ago, it felt like everyone was just going on without me.

Well meaning people said call if you need anything, but what I needed was for them to not forget that I was there and ask me to do something with them. I wasn't feeling up to calling them, and I had been taught not to invite myself places.

One thing I have discovered is that the grief doesn't always hit you when people think it will. So far it is either a little bit before or after the anniversary of my Dad's passing that the grief makes itself known, rather than on the day. One of the biggest things that can trigger it is a smell that somehow reminds me of Dad. It isn't always the same one, and it's not just smells.

I know this post might seem incomplete, and in a way it is, but then my grief is not complete, and won't be until I am no longer on this earth.

Monday, 3 July 2017

ACRBA Tour - My Brother Tom by Michelle Worthington

3 - 7 July 2017

is Introducing 
(By Wombat Books, 1 April, 2017)


Michelle Worthington

About the Book:

Tom was born earlier than expected and had the doctors worried. His big brother wasn't worried though, he saw angels outside his window and knew everything would be okay.
My Brother Tom is a story for older siblings of premature babies to help them make sense of what is happening at a difficult time.

About the Author:

Michelle is an author of children’s books, who is also available for workshops on writing for children, book signings and school readings.
Michelle Worthington was born in Brisbane, Queensland and currently works and lives in the Redlands. She enjoys travelling and has spent time studying in France where she lived for a year. 
Winner of the 1988 Little Swaggie Award and other Australian poetry competitions, she has been published in numerous Australian and International poetry anthologies. Since a very early age, Michelle has shown a love of words and rhyme, and has always excelled at English and Creative Writing. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from University of Queensland in 1996, Michelle is currently undergoing studies to further her career as a published author and book publisher.
Australian publisher, Wombat Books has released her first children’s picture book titled The Bedtime Band. It is the story of what the animals in the Australian bush get up to when children are at home asleep in their beds. Michelle has two sons, Jordan and Cody, who she has read to every day since they were born, as she believes in the importance of fostering a love of books in children. Her books encourage children to use their imagination and dare to dream big. Michelle’s other titles are available at

My Thoughts:
Helping children understand what is going on in their world is important. I don't know what the statistics are on how many children are born prematurely, but it is a traumatic time for everyone. Older siblings need to understand what is going on and why their parents need to be with their sibling. This book is a good way to do that.

Monday, 5 June 2017

ACRBA Tour - Unnoticed by Amanda Deed

5 - 9 May 2017

is Introducing 
(By Rhiza Press, 1 March, 2017)


Amanda Deed

About the Book:

Plain Jane O’Reilly is good at being unnoticed. Detested by her stepmother and teased by her stepsisters, Jane has learned the art of avoiding attention. That is until Price Moreland, an American with big dreams, arrives in her small town.
Does she dare to hope someone might notice her?
However, Price Moreland may not be the prince that the whole town thinks him to be. Was his desire to be a missionary a God-given call, or just a good excuse to run from his past?
Complete with an evil stepmother, a missing shoe and a grand ball, Unnoticed takes the time-old Cinderella fairy tale and gives it an Australian twist.

About the Author:

Amanda Deed has penned several Australian Historical Romances, including The Game, winner of the CALEB Prize for Fiction in 2010. She resides in the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne with her family, where she works full-time in her local church office.
Outside of work and family, Amanda loves to write stories filled with intrigue and adventure using her favourite themes as a backdrop: Australia, heritage, romance and faith. Her books include UnnoticedEllenvale GoldBlack Forest Redemption and Henry's Run. For more information, go to

My Thoughts

This book is another take on the Cinderella story - this time set in Australia during 1877.
I liked it, and this is one book that I will be finding space on my shelf for. I haven't been reading much historical fiction lately, but this one didn't have such a historical feel (apart from modes of transport and things like that).

It is also a wonderful look at forgiveness and the way that letting God into your life can change your attitude even if your circumstances don't change.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Book Dilemmas

While updating my books on  Goodreads a couple of weeks ago, I came across a blog post about Book-lover Problems. This prompted me to think about my own book dilemmas, and I came up with list of 12 things.

My list is in no particular order. Some of them are the same as ones in the Goodreads list, although I can honestly say I have never had the problem of trying to keep a book dry in the bath because I have never read in the bath.

So, here is my list:

  • Not enough shelf space.
  • Books announced but never published (especially when they are part of a series).
  • Book shops telling you the book is available, but when you order it, the book is out of print.
  • Books that are only available as e-books.
  • When and American author writes a book set in Australia, but still uses American terms to describe things, not Australian terms (e.g. Ranch vs. Station; field vs. paddock; forest vs bush).
  • When a series ends with a baby on the way but you never find out if it is a boy or girl.
  • Books ending without conflicts fully resolved (okay, so this is what life is like, but many of us read to escape life for a while).
  • When authors don't have consistency in characters between books (e.g. A character gets married and has children in one book in the series, but in a later book in the series it says they never married and no children).
  • Knowing a book is released in the USA, but it will take 3 months or more before it arrives in Australia (if ever).
  • Having a friend borrow a book and then not return is for ages even though you know they have finished with it.
  • Wanting to rearrange your bookshelves but not knowing how much space to leave for books loaned to friends.
I'm sure I could come up with more.
What are your book dilemmas?

Monday, 3 April 2017

ACRBA Tour - Activate by Adele Jones

3 - 7 April 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 November 2016)

By Adele Jones

About the Book:
Josh Hammond’s not who he says he is. To stay alive, he must guard his identity, existing isolated from his former life and those he loves. The one enemy he can’t outrun is his failing health, and time is short. Desperate for a solution, Josh leaves the protection of his safe house unapproved. Instead of a cure, he’s left powerless against a cunning adversary. Determined to reclaim his life, he grasps an opportunity for escape, but things go drastically wrong. Can he find a way to expose the lies of a criminal mastermind, or will he be silenced? Forever.

About the Author:
Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination.

A strong believer in embracing life's journey, Adele delights in sharing that adventure with others, be that through the pages of a story or engaging in a social or professional context. Through her broad personal and professional interests, she has welcomed diverse engagement opportunities, including science based student experience sessions, conference presentations, literary readings and musical exploits.

With a long standing interest in historical fiction, Adele based her Master's dissertation on this topic and is currently anticipating release of her first novel in this genre, A Devil's Ransom ( She has also had a variety of poems, short stories, inspirational meditations, devotions and magazine articles published. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 Caleb Prize for unpublished manuscript, and is due to for release in September 2014. Replicate is the second book in this series and was released in October 2015.   

More information:
Adele Jones:

My Thoughts

I haven't read the first two books in this series, so I felt like I jumped into the middle of something and struggled to pull all the threads together. There were a lot of plot elements that I think came through from the previous books, so I always felt I was missing some information.

There were also a few words included in the book that were unnecessary - close to swearing, but certainly ones that I didn't want in my head.

The suspense kept going through the entire book, so it was hard to put down. While it isn't one that I plan to read again, it might appeal to some.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Picnic Etiquette

On occasion this blog becomes my soap box ... today is one of those days.

Recently some of my family and I went out for the day for a picnic and sightseeing. Our picnic got off to a leisurely start, we enjoyed watching the seagulls fly, and just spending the time together.
However, close to the end of out picnic, the tranquillity was rudely interrupted by a large extended family.

So here are my thoughts on picnic etiquette:

1. Choose your spot where there is quite a bit of space between you and the next family/group.

       This family stood less than a metre behind us loudly jabbering, then spread their picnic rug                  within 2 metres of ours even though there was a lot of space elsewhere throughout the park in              both sun and shade.

2. Walk well away from where others are sitting.

      The above mentioned group walked all around us with less than a metre to spare. They could               have walked a lot further away. Plus if anyone had tripped on the uneven ground, they would               have fallen on top of us. There was no reason to walk anywhere close to us as all amenities were         in the opposite direction.

3. Stop your children from doing an activity that could endanger others.

    Included in this family group were a number of preteen/early-teen boys. They opted to throw and       kick very heavy pine cones (these were more like bricks in density and weight) and sticks at each       other and at the shade trees, trying to knock down more pine cones. We were in the firing line and       very concerned that we would be injured. The parents/grandparents did nothing to stop the boys or     even get them to move away.

Needless to say, the rest of our picnic was not relaxed and we very quickly packed up and headed off. It really put a damper on what had been a lovely time.

Monday, 6 March 2017

ACRBA Tour - Chocolate Soldier by Hazel Barker

6 - 10 March 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 October 2016)

By Hazel Barker

About the Book:
London. 1940.
When World War II breaks out and men over eighteen are conscripted, Clarence Dover, a conscientious objector, refuses to go rather than compromise his principles.  Instead he joins the Friend's Ambulance Unit.  From the London Blitz to the far reaches of Asia the war tests Clarence in the crucible of suffering.  In the end, will he be able to hold his head up as proudly as the rest and say, to save lives I risked my own?
One man will stand as God's soldier, not the war's soldier.

About the Author:
Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking. From her early years, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Many of her short stories and book reviews have been published in magazines and anthologies.
Hazel’s debut novel Chocolate Soldier, and Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind, will be released in 2016. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma.
For more information, visit her blog on:

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading this book (not that war is ever enjoyable). I think it's because recently I have been researching my Grandfather's service in the Royal Navy during WW2 - where he served, what his role was and how he got there. Part of if he wrote in a book about his life (never published), and part research on the internet.

This book is what I would call biographical fiction. It's the story of a real person, but with fictional licence so that it reads well and is interesting to the average person picking it up. Life wasn't easy for Conscientious Objectors (or anyone during WW2), but when they were able to find a way to serve without picking up arms, I think they should be commended. Many Conchies did jobs that no one else wanted, and they did it under the ridicule of those around them.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Let Kids Be Kids

In my job as an After School Care Educator I see some children every day of the week. This year we have seen a large increase in the number of children doing homework, so much so that even though we set aside the largest table as our homework table we have also had to add another table specifically for homework and that is also always full and children are using whatever space they can for homework.

While I understand that homework can be important, these children aren't just doing their school homework. Most of them have homework from tutoring on top of their regular school homework. Then there are also ones who are preparing for scholarship testing, which adds yet another level and set of problems to work through or things to write. There are also some who are learning another language (also in addition to what they are learning at school) and they have homework for that as well.

Some of these children spend their entire time as OSHC doing homework. They finish their school homework, then straight away move on to their tutoring homework. The tutoring isn't to help them get better at something that they are struggling with, it's to get ahead of the pack. Even during the school holidays there were children doing tutoring homework when they came to Holiday Club.

I was talking with one of the children last week and they were complaining about how much they had to do and the fact that as soon as they left OSHC they would be going to tutoring class, then on to another activity. I asked this child if they have time to relax and they were told only when they were at Grandma's house.

Later in the week we had a parent asking us if we could make sure their children did their homework because when they got home they wanted to have fun with them and not have to worry about the homework.

So, my question is, when do these children actually have time to be children?

When I was growing up, we had reading to do for homework. Occasionally there was a project or class work that hadn't been finished. There was time to play, to use our imaginations, to run around, laugh and just have fun.
Tutoring was just to catch you up if you were having trouble, not to push you ahead of where it was expected you would be based on your year level.

And I haven't even mentioned music lessons, team sports and other sports or activities that children are being sent to on a daily basis. Even their weekends are filled to overflowing.

Play is an important part of children's development. And kids also need time to be quiet, not running from one thing to the next.

Please, please, please ... let your kids be kids while they can.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Music in Your Head

Do you have a song (or 2) that you just can't get out of your head?

Now my brain is often on shuffle with all the songs that I know, but for the last couple of months I haven't been able to get the theme music for The Longest Day out of my head. It keeps popping up and I find myself humming or whistling it.

What song can't you get out of your head right now?

Friday, 24 February 2017

Re-read to Reduce and Giving Away Books

Hi Everyone!
I want to ask you a question (or 2).

I've been thinking about how to reduce the number of books that are in boxes rather than on the shelf and have tried on a couple of other occasions to figure this out. A little while ago I decided that if I wouldn't read a book again, I wasn't going to keep it. Mostly, to remove the books, I have donated them to charity, but I was wondering if there were people who would be interested in having them instead.

If I was to try getting rid of my books, would any of you want to take them off my hands?

Would you be willing to pay the cost of postage? (A few years ago I did this on my blog, and was sent the cost of postage in the form of postage stamps.)

Would you pay a small amount to purchase them?

Or should I just keep donating them to charity?

Please let me know what you think.

This is what my shelves looked like a few years ago. Some of the books I no longer have, and the shelves have all been rearranged. I can't get to the lower shelves anymore because of the overflow boxes of books - I think I'm now up to 10 boxes of various sizes. Plus there are some shelves with a double layer of books. I also have 2 other bookshelves of different sizes in the room, plus my bedside cupboard holds some as well.

Monday, 6 February 2017

ACRBA Tour - Once Confronted by Lynne Stringer

6 - 10 February 2017

is Introducing 
(By the Rhiza Press, 1 October 2016)

By Lynne Stringer

About the Book:
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her?
Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness? 

About the Author:
Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning with short stories in her primary school days. She began writing professionally as a journalist and was the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.
Lynne is the author of the Verindon trilogy, a young adult science fiction romance series released in 2013. Her latest novel, released in October 2016, is Once Confronted, a contemporary drama. Visit for more information.
Lynne is the author of the Verindon series including The HeirThe Crown and The Reign.

My Thoughts:

I really wasn't sure what to say about this book. It wasn't one that I was convinced about reading, but gave it a go. I must admit that I nearly put it down after just a couple of chapters, but kept at it.

There was a wonderful theme of what forgiveness can do in the life of people and also shows how bitterness can destroy them.

This book is not for the fainthearted, as there will be some confronting things inside.