Monday, 18 May 2020

Charlie’s Ark by Karina McRoberts

I have great admiration for writers who can take a delicate topic and explain it to children in a way they will understand. This is what Karina McRoberts has done in her story, Charlie’s Ark, dealing with neurodiversity.

Young Charlie falls, hitting his head causing him to go into a coma. It was a long time before he awoke but he was different. Charlie had changed and discovered he could paint pictures of animals.

Through his pictures, Charlie raises money to help animals and in doing so began his own road to recovery.

This is a heart-warming story that parents should share with their young children.

Although I was provided with a free copy electronic version for reviewing I will certainly be purchasing a copy for my granddaughter.

My rating 5*

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Sunday, 10 May 2020

Indian Paintbrush by John A Heldt

Indian Paintbrush continues the story of time travelling family, the Carsons with the siblings attempting to find their parents, Tim and Caroline. They arrive in Arizona at the height of WWII expecting their parents to be in the same time zone, but an error of judgement means they must all pass the time until the next opportunity for time travel arises.

As they bide their time the siblings find jobs to aid the war effort. The two girls, Natalie and Caitlin, find jobs at the nearby airfield as maintenance mechanics.

Cody delivers medical supplies and becomes friends with a young Japanese woman at the internment camp. Greg teaches English to Chinese pilots and Adam is running a recycling plant.

Through their work Caitlin and Natalie also find love with a pilot trainee and a pilot instructor respectfully while Cody becomes friends with a Japanese girl and her family in the camp.

Adam, Greg and Cody are all conscription age. In their attempts to avoid being called up it attracts the attention of authorities and the disgust of their neighbours.

From the moment I opened the book I was eager to read more of the Carson family’s adventure. I wasn’t disappointed. The old characters are consistent with the previous books. The reader feels part of their family and wants desperately for them to succeed in their quest.

While united in their goal as a family, each character has their story with emotional ups and downs. Their parents’ story line also continues with Caroline struggling with the disappointment of missing her family while Tim suffers from the guilt of his error in timing.

The eldest brother, Adam, remains the rock in the family with his positive attitude and advice.

In addition to avoiding conscription Greg has the added pressure of past problems and dangers following him alongside the joys of becoming a father.

As always Mr Heldt has included fascinating history based on comprehensive research. I am Australian and my country also had internment camps for Japanese and German citizens, so I found this insight interesting.

He even manages to weave in the high-profile celebrities of Bob Hope, Rita Hayworth, and Orson Welles along with the music of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

The story line is complex but not so complicated you can’t follow it. The clear word pictures help it to move smoothly as does the story being told from each character’s viewpoint. 

I have enjoyed John A. Heldt’s stories since his first book, The Mine and he never fails to deliver a story that draws in the reader.

The cliff hanger ending has you wanting to go straight o the next book in the series.

This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review.

My rating 5*

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Friday, 21 February 2020

Amazon has really annoyed me this time.

I have been writing reviews, mostly for independent authors, for 7 years and sharing the reviews on this blog, Goodreads, LibraryThing and Amazon.

When I started, I was only required to purchase books of small value to qualify posting reviews on Amazon. I was able to post on as well as the sites in the UK and Australia.

The first annoying change was because I had not purchased books through the UK site, I was no longer qualified to post reviews. It was particularly disappointing because I review books by an English author.

Then, Amazon put the value to be purchased up to $50 but as I had already been accepted, I was able to continue posting my reviews on

I logged into Amazon the other day to post my latest review for Manipulation by TR Robinson only to get an on-screen message saying I didn’t qualify to post a review. It would appear Amazon have changed their rules.

Not only do you have to purchase books initially to the value of $50 but you are required to spend that amount on a yearly basis AND you have to do that for every Amazon site you would like to participate in reviews. That means if I want to share my opinion in the UK, Australia and the US I must spend $50 per year per site!

Even if I could afford to spend that amount of money, I doubt I could read that many books on top of my own purchases through Australian bookshops and those already in my personal library. The other difficulty is when I try to purchase an eBook (a simple download) I am forced to purchase only through the Australian site.

Furthermore, when I wish to purchase a print edition book my first choice is Booktopia (an Australian company) It is cheaper, more affordable, has faster postage and I am supporting an Australian company.

So, where is the future of my reviews and support for indie authors? I will continue to read and review the books on my ‘to be read’ list’. I will also read and review for authors who regularly send me their new work and post the reviews on my blog and Goodreads. However, I will be advising them of the situation, and I won’t be promoting my free service to new authors. I will also post reviews on Booktopia for books I purchase from them.

It is such a shame Amazon have taken this course of action. I can only interpret their actions as money being more important than supporting up and coming authors.

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