Bird of Chaos, Susie Mander

Susie Mander, Bird of Chaos, Harpies Curse

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how to write a book, how to write a story, writing a novel, australian authors, young authors, female writer, female writer australian, Susie ManderBIRD OF CHAOS by Susie Mander

I was lucky enough to be given an advanced copy of Bird of Chaos from the author herself.

As a friend of Susie Mander, I was familiar with the story that was coming my way.

We had spoken on and off about Verne during the entire writing process.

The back cover blurb.

The final Tempest rides on the power of a storm. It blasts the cold of winter and burns like the summer sun. It spares no one.

Verne Golding the Third is heir to the Tibutan throne and destined to stop the Tempest. But Tibuta is fractured by civil war and Verne’s family is divided by ambition and cruelty—and she, unlike them, is ungifted. Her allies urge her to take power to unify the nation and protect it against evil, but only a Talent can rule Tibuta. Verne must overcome her impediment and find a way to rise above prejudice and her own self-doubt to take on the challenge.

The only thing standing in her way is her mother.

The story and what it is about and what kind of happens in it.  Including my opinion, parts that I liked and skipped over all that stuff.

Did I keep reading it all the way till the end?

Quotes from the book, that were good bad, funny of incredibly moving.

Was lucky enough to INTERVIEW SUSIE MANDER right after Bird of Chaos had just been released and she had given birth to her first child.

BIRD OF CHAOS was published in 2014 by Crooked Keep, Australia.

Bird of Chaos is Susie Mander’s first novel.

It is 420 of pages long and while it should only be about 11 hours of reading time, but it took me about three months as my kindle was broken and my computer kept hitting me in the face at night.  Got a paper back copy and read it again in a week.

What I learnt from this book.  

Reading this book as an Emerging writer makes for an incredibly inspiring story.

A study in world building – Reading the book as an emerging writer, what can you learn and study.  What are some inspirational parts of the book.

Was self-published through Crooked Keep Publishing.

Add to female writer –

Add to all the reviews –


The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

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THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train has been on my reading list since it was published in January of this year.  The book has been likened to GONE GIRL, and was discussed with great enthusiasm at the Emerging Writers Festival in May.  Everyone seems to be talking about it.  So did this humble little fiction from the UK live up to the hype?

It’s complicated.

good fiction books to read, good books, book blogs, books, book reviews, book review blogs, good fiction books, girl on a train, the girl on the train, paula hawkins, thriller booksMeet Rachel.  Rachel is struggling to cope with the end of her marriage, stuck in the monotony of her life and consumed with thoughts and plans about alcohol.  To fill time on her daily commute, Rachel has become caught up in the lives of a seemingly ideal couple, who’s house and backyard she can see from the train.  Each day she passes the house and projects onto them the ideal life that is out of her reach.

Then one day she witnesses something that shocks her.  As the secret eats away at her, she is desperate to tell somebody what she witnessed.  She decides to act, setting off a chain of events that alter the course of many lives.

The complexity of the plotting is a gem.  The Girl on the Train is told through multiple first person narration.

In many ways, the telling is quite sophisticated.  This book is a wonderful lesson for any Emerging Writer, who may be over explaining their work.  Paula Hawkins trusts her readers to figure a lot out on their own.  It wasn’t so much a twist at the end as a slow revealing of the truth.  As time slips back and forth between 2012 and 2013, characters and events  slowly reveal themselves, as the reader pieces the plot together.

The reader remains engaged as they have to actively figure out the story.  In doing so, I realised how many assumptions I made about many characters in the absence of facts.  It’s an interesting experiment in the things we make up about someone; the ways in which someone’s outward appearance directly influences our impression of their inward life. Continue reading

Why Do I Only Get Queries From Dudes?

getting book reviews, Self publishing, self publishing book review, how to get my book reviewed, how to get book reviews, female writers reviews, review women writers

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So, I review books.

My details are on a number of different websites, including this one, outlining how indie authors and writers can get in contact with me about reviewing their work.  Authors send me queries, which include details of their novels, and they ask me if I would be interested in reviewing their work.  I say yes to as many reviews as I can.

I receive one or two requests each day.  Many of these I turn down due to time restrictions or a disinterest in the blurb of the book.  But I read every request, consider it and respond.  I have a REVIEW POLICY that helps me choose the books I will consider for review.

I decided that I would always give preference to Indie Australian Female writers as that is my community, and you need to support your own.  The only thing is, they never write to me – Ever.  Since I started receiving queries for book reviews I have only ever been contacted by male writers. Continue reading

The Lake House, Kate Morton

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THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton

I’m a big Kate Morton fan.  It’s not just because I love her books, but because I enjoy how candid she is about her life as a writer.  Morton has always been honest about the challenges she faced initially getting published.  In interviews, she has shared her rejections, her moments of doubt and financial struggles, and times when she was working as a waitress at weddings.  SMH

All this honesty, juxtaposed with commercial and critical acclaim make Kate Morton a wonderful writer for emerging writers to follow and learn from.

Her latest release THE LAKE HOUSE follows on from her success as a time-slipping family-drama mystery writer.  I will try not to give anything away.  The blurb copy reads like this… A missing child.  June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party.

Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever. Continue reading

How to Get A Book Review

There is one very simple way of getting your book reviewed.  It is so obvious that lots of people actually overlook it, searching for more complicated and intricate ways of sneaking a book review from an unlikely suspect.  Ask.

The first three book reviews I received for my book arrived in my email because I had asked for them.

Unless you are a major author with the backing of a big publisher, you are probably going to struggle to get a review in mainstream media.  this also means that the people who are going to be reviewing you book will be doing it for free in their spare time.

So be kind, and gentle and give your reviewer sometime.

The best way to try and get a book review is to ask for one.  There are many people who read you book who would not think to give the book a review online.  So ask them, perhaps at the end of the book if you feel so bold. Continue reading

The World Without Us, Mireille Juchau

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THE WORLD WITHOUT US by Mireille Juchau

I knew nothing about The World Without Us when I first picked it up.  To be honest, judging from the cover, I thought it was going to be a science fiction novel.  I had just finished reading James Bradley’s novel CLADE and thought The World Without Us looked very similar.

I had not read a review on the novel or ever heard of the author, Mireille Juchau.  It was a funny choice, but I was stuck in Sydney for a week without a book and just took a chance.  I’m so glad I did. Continue reading

Rush Oh, Shirley Barrett

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RUSH OH! by Shirley Barrett

In the place where I grew up, Rush Oh! needs no advertising campaign.  Here it has received a great deal of traditional Eden gossip and word of mouth advertising.  Everyone has heard about the book about our whalers.

I am from the Eden, the town in which RUSH OH! is set.  Well, I went to high school in the whaling town of Eden, I watched the Whale Festival Parade meander down Imlay Street year after year.  I walked up the hill to the Whale Museum for science lessons.  I touched the bones of Old Tom on display in the museum and scratched whale oil from the carpet where it drips lethargically from whale bones bolted to the ceiling.

I knew this story.  I knew it well. Continue reading

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

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THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

By the time I came to read THE ROSIE PROJECT, its reputation was monumental.  I knew it was a romantic comedy.  I had already heard the premise of the novel.  I knew lots of people loved it.  I felt like I had already read it.  I wondered if knowing so much about the novel would ruin it all, but really, I have to say it didn’t.  I loved it.

reviews, meghan brewster reviews, book reviews, australian writers reviewed, Australian literature review, aussie writers, book review, the rosie projectIn terms of reviews, there isn’t much left to say about THE ROSIE PROJECT, and I certainly feel like I am coming to the book very late.  But I still wanted to read it.  It’s famous and Australian and had a great reputation.

In case, on the off chance you have heard nothing about The Rosie Project, here is a little blurb.  Don Tillman is an Australian scientist who has set his mind to finding a wife.  With few friends and a terrible dating record, Don sets about formatting a wife questionnaire to find a most suitable wife.  He’s a little special when it comes to engaging with others, and if you were ever a teacher like me you will be thinking Aspergers before the end of the first paragraph.

His plans are set off course when he meets Rosie, who doesn’t fit many of Tillman’s criteria, but find her way into his life regardless.  As a genetic scientist, Don is in a position to help Rosie look for her genetic father.

Things go well and then things go badly.  It’s obvious from their first date that these two will get together, but the journey there really is worth the read. Continue reading

Mothers & Others, Collection

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Feature image MOTHERS & OTHERS

Mothers & Others is an anthology of short stories and non-fiction essays from twenty-eight different Australian women; many of which are writers.  It was edited by Natalie Kon-Yu, Christie Nieman, Maggie Scott, Miriam Sved, Maya Linden and published on 1st May 2015 by Macmillan Australia.

Each ‘chapter’ is a meditation on parenting, children, and mothers.  The anthology includes stories about infertility, choosing to remain childless, adoption, step-children and pregnancy.

The contributors are amazingly different and their experiences so diverse, Alice Pung, Brita Frost, Deborra-Lee Furness, Simmone Howell, Maggie Scott, Brooke Davis, Cate Kennedy Celeste Liddle, Rosie Waterland, Christie Nieman, Shakira Hussein, Miriam Sved, Debra Adelaide, Dianne Blacklock, Emily Maguire, Estelle Tang, Frances Whiting, Rosie Batty, Kathleen Mary Fallon, Liane Moriarty, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Geraldine Brooks, Melina Marchetta, Maya Linden, Natalie Kon-yu, Jessica Rudd, Enza Gandolfo and Sue Gillett.  These women formed a well-rounded read on the topic of motherhood, in all its forms.

The flap copy of Mothers & Others promises unflinching honesty and clear-eyed wisdom.

A work that holds a mirror up to the most romanticised, demonised and complex roles women play; those of mother or non-mother, and daughter.’

Twelve Years of Looking After Luke, by mother Rosie Batty, as told to Maggie Scott, was a standout of the collection.  Rosie Batty’s harrowing journey as a parent through domestic violence, paternal mental illness and, of course, the very public death of her son Luke at the hands of his father, is told with warmth and calm. Continue reading

Amazing Babes, Eliza Sarlos & Grace Lee

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AMAZING BABES by Eliza Sarlos and Grace Lee.  This is the book that inspired a traveling writers singing spectacular!

Amazing babes, amazing babes book, emerging writer, emerging writers, reviews, australian books, aussie book reviews I first heard about Amazing Babes at the EMERGING WRITERS FESTIVAL.  At the festival, it was in song form, but I got the drift of it.

So it’s a beautiful book.  It’s well made, lovely to look at and easy to read.

Amazing Babes is a celebration of innovative, brave and world-changing women.  When I first read this book I felt a little tingle run down my spine.  It’s a really inspiring book, for grown-ups as much as little people.

AMAZING BABES was published in 2013 by Scribe in Australia.  It’s a collaboration between writer and illustrator which started as a one of a kind book, written by Eliza Sarlos for her son Arthur.  It was a birthday present for Arthur.  Eliza asked longtime friend Grace Lee to help bring the words to life and the result is gorgeous portraits that introduce new readers to the lives of these strong, powerful and world changing women.

I actually have a copy of this in my library and we have a house without children.  Friends and family love reading it when it’s laying around on the coffee table.


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