Book Review – Catching Teller Crow by Ambelimn Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Catching Teller Crow

 

There is so much to love about this story, and if I may be a bit geeky, the title is one of those things. It’s so clever, because while the title as a whole makes sense, each word in the title is also the name of a character.

Beth Teller is the first character we meet. She’s a ghost. She was killed in a car accident, and is hanging around because she doesn’t want to leave her father alone (her mother died when she was a baby). Her father is the only person who can see and hear her.

Beth’s father is a police officer, and together they are visiting a small town. A children’s home has burnt down and while all the children escaped, there is a dead body inside the building. It seems like a case of faulty wiring and bad luck, but as they delve deeper they find there is far more to the case than first meets the eye.

Isobel Catching is the other main character in this story. She was found wandering the river after the fire, and is considered to be a witness. Beth and her father try talking to Isobel, who tells them a strange strange story, about almost dying, and crossing into another world and having all her colours stolen.

Crow is a girl who Isobel meets in this other world, and who helps Isobel escape back into this world.

But there is far more to this story than meets the eye, and when everything clicks into place you realise exactly all the awful things that have been happening to Isobel, and exactly how it fits in to the fire in the children’s home, and the dead body inside.

On the surface, this is a crime/mystery, but underneath it is so much more. This is a story about stories, and how telling those stories, how being heard, can strengthen a person, and help in the healing process.

 

 

 

My favourite books of 2018

Some of my favourite books that I purchased this year…

I don’t think I’ve managed to post even one book review this year, though I’ve read so many fantastic books. So here’s a list of my favourites. (Note: this is not necessarily a list of books published this year, but rather a list of my favourites of the books I read this year.)

The first has got to be ‘Flames’ by Robbie Arnott. I loved every bit of this bizarre and wonderful story –  from the mother who temporarily returns from the dead with bits of landscape sprouting from her body, to the animism present in every aspect of the story – everything has a spirit and a consciousness, from the river rat swimming in the Tamar right up to the rain cloud hanging over Ben Lomond.

The second is actually a children’s picture book, ‘Old Hu-Hu’ by Kyle Mewburn. Kyle read this story aloud during her session at the Tamar Valley Writers Festival, and I have to admit I was blinking back tears. Old Hu-Hu has died, you see, and little Hu-Hu-Tu wants to know where he’s gone. It’s such a  beautiful story I ordered a copy as soon as I got home.

‘The Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang is next. Stella Lane is on the spectrum and struggles with relationships, so she hires a male escort to help her out. This was such a fun story,  and I’ve never met a protagonist I related to so much! This is definitely for 18+ though, it contains sex scenes that don’t hold back on the description!

‘The Secrets We Keep’ by Shirley Patton is a wonderful story by a fellow Tasmanian author. Aimee is a social worker freshly arrived in Kalgoorlie, who has made one difficult choice already in her past, and soon faces another. One of the reasons I loved this story so much was the character of Agnes, who reads people’s futures in tea leaves, and explores the more spiritual aspects of life.

I discovered ‘Darker Shade of Magic’ by VE Schwab after watching her Tolkien Lecture, which in turn was recommended at the Tamar Valley Writers Festival.  It’s a story of portals to other worlds, where things are similar, but also vastly different.  I absolutely loved it! 

‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi is a book I came across on Twitter. I read The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas last year, and she (among others) recommended this amazing fantasy of a world in which magic has been suppressed until young Zelie is thrust into an adventure to return it. It’s brilliant.

I bought ‘Nevermoor’ by Jessica Townsend for my kids, and my son devoured it in a day and thrust it under my nose with a ‘You have to read this!” I had soon devoured it too, and we’re eagerly awaiting the sequel. (Yes, I know, it’s out already – it’s on our ‘To Buy’ list!)

I bought The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland while visiting family in WA earlier this year. It’s such a beautiful story, of a girl who loses her family to a devastating fire, and is thrust into the collected family of a grandmother she never knew.

During this same trip I also bought ‘Taboo’ by Kim Scott. It’s the story of Tilly, daughter of an Indigenous man who she barely knows, and her reconnection with her community and their shared ancestors. It is devastating in so many ways, and yet also full of hope for the future. 

 

#AWW2016 Review – Flywheel by Erin Gough

Flywheel

 

I first heard of The Flywheel at the Tamar Valley Writers Festival earlier this year. Author Erin Gough spoke about her experiences discovering her sexuality as a teenager. Attending an all girls school she had never ever heard of anyone who was gay – it wasn’t mentioned at school – there was not even any teasing, and she’d never come across gay characters in any of the books she read. She assumed that the only reason she liked girls was because she didn’t know any boys, or at least, not well enough to develop a crush on.

She wrote this because she wanted other young gay girls out there (and guys too I guess) :), to be able to see themselves in fiction – to learn that they are normal, that there are others out there just like themselves.

I loved The Flywheel, it really is such a sweet story.

Delilah is 17 years old, and gay. It’s the universal high school story – misplaced crushes and the embarrassment that stems from the world finding out – but there’s a twist – the popular girl Delilah has a crush on likes her back, but is not confident enough to admit to the world she’s gay, let alone she’s attracted to one of the uncool kids.

Struggling with the taunts after popular-girl’s friends find out and believe the attraction is all one-sided, Delilah decides to ditch school for a bit and focus on the family cafe she’s supposed to be running while her father is away. This also gives her more time to spy on her newest crush, the beautiful Rosa, who dances flamenco at the tapas bar across the road.

This is such a well written story – and I’m sure totally relatable to anyone who has ever attended high school, regardless of their sexuality. Highly recommended! 🙂

#AWW2016 Round-up (Happy Mother’s Day!)

First up – Happy Mother’s Day!! I hope you all get as spoiled as I did – breakfast and hot chocolate in bed, along with a wonderful home-made card and a bag of home made gifts -perfect!

Just a short post this week.

AWW2016

In my first post of the year I wrote about how I’d signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2016. My goal was to read 6 books by Australian Women Writers this year – at least half of which were by Indigenous Authors.

I’m really pleased to say that 1/3 of the way through the year and I have already acheived that goal. My reviews were:

By Indigenous Authors:

And Non-Indigenous Authors:

So I’ve extended my goal a little, with the hope to read and review another 6 books by Australian Women Writers,  with at least three by Indigenous authors, before the end of the year.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews, and if you have any recommendations for great Aussie authors/books, please let me know in the comments. 🙂

The Harpist – New Flash Fiction Story

Just a short post today to celebrate another publication!!

The Harpist is a flash fiction piece about a young girl, forced into harp lessons and now a great harp competition, by her overzealous mother. The story shows how she takes control of the situation and finds the positives in something she has been dreading.

Published at  http://1000words.org.uk/the-harpist/

Check it out!! 🙂