The Color of Broken, an excerpt, the psychologist’s chair

 

 

Title: The Colour of Broken, The Color of Broken (US version)
Author: Amelia Grace
Publisher: Lilly Pilly Publishing

The streets of Tarrin woke to a beautiful morn. Flowers for Fleur opened, gifting the township with its colourful blooms and magical flower fragrances that convinced people the world was indeed a beautiful place, filled with love and light.

Except, it was a lie.

There was darkness within. A darkness that sought to rise and consume the light of two souls. Two women. Two tragic tales. Broken lives. Broken dreams.
The loved and the unlovable, bound by blood.

 

 

The Color of Broken, an excerpt …

I SAT IN THE CHAIR OUTSIDE THE PSYCHOLOGIST’S OFFICE. I’m sure it had a permanent imprint of my butt on it. My mother’s hand was around my upper arm like a vice so I couldn’t run. She knew me well. Thank God. I didn’t want to be here, but I did. I needed to be here. Darkness had reached up to pull me under, yet again.

A woman in her thirties came out of the office. She had manicured nails, perfect hair, make-up, shoes that weren’t steel-capped safety work boots, and a matching handbag. But I couldn’t see what color she was. Not when I felt like this. I pulled a face. I wanted a matching handbag. No I didn’t. I wanted the perfect hair and make-up. No I didn’t. I wanted to be her instead of me. She didn’t look like she had any problems.

She turned her perfectly painted face towards me and smiled. One of those smiles that says, “I’ve got my shit together. I like me!” Maybe when I came out of my therapy session with Dr. Jones today, I’ll come out looking a million bucks—like her. A new person. A new past. My baggage gone like it was permanently lost on a plane flight, or spewed out into space, never to return.

I swallowed. The bitter reality was, this is me. Fucked up. Because of two men. Two cowardly bastards. I hated them. I hated them with every fibre of my being. I hated what they had done to me, what they had done to Mia—what I had become.

I lowered my head and sobbed.

My mother shifted in her chair and handed me a tissue—my dear mother, who had the same blond wavy hair and blue eyes like Gram and me. Except their hair fell to their shoulders, styled of course, while mine, dyed brown, fell to the middle of my back. Wild. I took the tissue from her and silently uttered a thousand apologies. Every parent deserved for their child to grow up happy—happy with a job, happy with friends, happy with themselves, happy with a partner, and babies. Not a self-loathing person like me. I should have d—

‘Yolande.’ Dr. Jones’s voice was comforting, like a warm childhood blankie and a mug of hot chocolate by the fireplace.

My mother’s grip loosened on my arm and I stood, eyes focused on the floor. I took slow steps into the office. The familiar office. I’d been here so often I was wondering when she’d ask me to pay rent.

Dr. Jones put a light hand on my shoulder and led me to the couch. Usually she asked me whether I wanted to sit on the chair or lie on the couch. Today there was no such question. She knew me well. For a moment I wondered if psychologists ever saw a psychiatrist or psychologist themselves? Who did they go to when they had a problem?

While my body moulded to the curves of the furniture, Dr. Jones went to make of pot of tea. I heard the chink of the china teacups and saucers and the boiling water. I closed my eyes and rested my hands on my stomach. I knew what questions were coming. And I knew how to answer them so she heard what she wanted to hear, which was not necessarily my truth. But today, I had decided, I was going to answer her questions, for me—for my truth, in the hope that it would set me free.

My stomach quivered. Courage. Step boldly. I had to do this for me.

At the sound of approaching footsteps I opened my eyes. Dr. Jones placed two teacups and saucers on the table in front of me. I reached over and picked up a cup. The warmth of the brew touched my lips and I relaxed a little. Aah … tea … the magic key to the vault where my brain is kept, according to Frances Hardinge.

‘What brings you here today, Andi?’ Dr. Jones asked, sitting behind me, so we were not face to face.

‘The darkness within,’ I said, and sipped on some more tea. ‘And fear.’

‘Ah … good old Darius Darkness. Your friend. What is he trying to tell you?’

‘I deserve everything that happened. I almost believed him. But Darius is such a liar. He’s relentless at times.’

‘Well done, Andi. So, I’m assuming fear has jumped onboard to weigh you down?’

‘Yes.’ I sipped on my tea. It warmed my throat and my stomach. I welcomed its warmth.

‘Fear of?’

‘Gram wants me to go to a garden party with a stranger to protect her bicycle. She told me not to wear my steel-capped boots.’

‘How does that make you feel?’

‘Terrified. I spiralled into a panic attack. I almost vomited from the anxiety it brought on. I took off my apron, and threw it at her, then ran. I ran away from Gram! I felt so terrible. She’s not well you know, and I did this to her on top of what she’s going through.’

‘Why did you throw your apron at her?’

‘She told me not to live my life in the shadows anymore. She said I was running in fear … all the time. She said everything I chose to do is based on fear. She said, “that’s enough of this nonsense, we have all put up with it for far too long!”’

I started to sob. I had failed everybody. I was a burden to everybody. I stole happiness from everyone who knew me. I felt like I was the color of black, absorbing everyone else’s color.

‘What did you think of your grandmother’s words?’

I gained some sort of control of my crying. ‘She … she spoke the truth … and it hurts.’

‘I agree with your grandmother, Yolande. What you’re doing day to day is surviving, not living. You’re leading your life within tight, constricting walls you have self-imposed, squeezing your right to happiness from you. What happened to you and your friend is not your fault. Those men had choices. And they chose wrongly. It had nothing to do with you, or your friend, what you did, or didn’t do, what you could have, or should have done. There was nothing you could have done to change the outcome of the events. The attackers were under a drug induced psychotic state. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.’

I closed my eyes and put my trembling hand over my mouth. I dragged my hand away and ran my fingers over my scar. ‘I know … I know all the facts and the results of the medical testing and psychiatric assessment of the bastards. The whole tragic event should never have happened. I want to go back in time and change the outcome. But I can’t.’

‘Have you visited Mia?’

‘No.’

‘It’s something you need to do. There’s a goal for you, Andi. I know you can do it. You have come such a long way since we first met, two and a half years ago.’

I sucked in a shuddering breath. ‘I know.’

‘Let’s go back to the incident with Gram. Which is worse? Going to a garden party with a stranger, or not wearing steel-capped boots?’

‘I think … deep down … it’s not wearing my steel-capped boots. They’re my safety net. I know they’ll inflict serious damage if I kick someone with them in self-defense, and give me time to run.’

‘I’m surprised. I thought going to the party with a stranger would rank higher than your steel-capped boots.’

I looked down at my faithful brown boots. I wore them with my jeans today and they didn’t look so out of place, unlike wearing them with a dress at Flowers for Fleur. I wondered how they would look with an Audrey Hepburn type of old-fashioned dress that Gram suggested I wear. I touched the scar on my chest again. I was hit with the realisation that a fancy, feminine, Audrey Hepburn dress would cover my scar entirely, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the scar accidentally revealing itself to innocent guests, who would then stare at me after the initial shock of seeing it, then communicate a look of pity to me. Gram always thought of everything.

‘At first, going to the garden party with a stranger was more terrifying, but when I thought about it, behind the stranger thing was that I had no one there to help look out for me, to be my extra eyes and ears in case of an attack. If I had my boots on, I’d feel safe. But when Gram added the no steel-capped boots, I felt cornered.’

‘And that triggered other negative emotions and memories?’

‘Yes.’

‘So … we return to the garden party and the boots. Knowing you, you already have a plan. What is it?’

‘I have to wear a dress, with normal dress shoes. My fear is I have nothing to protect myself with. I think shoe throwing would be laughable.’

‘It would still give you some time. Don’t underestimate it. What else can you take that could be tucked into your bag?’

‘Pepper spray. Hairspray. Whistle. Laser pointer. Self-defense safety rod. Mobile phone stun gun.’

‘Have you considered telling your garden party partner your safety concerns?’

‘Never. He knows nothing about me. He is literally a stranger, albeit one who has talked to Gram for close to an hour, and she’s given him permission to borrow her bicycle for four hours as long as I go with him—something she has never done! And I still can’t believe she has sacrificed my mental health in the equation.’

‘Do you think he—’

‘Xander—’

Xander … may feel the need to protect you if something unforeseeable happens at the garden party, considering you are going along as a guest?’

I closed my eyes. I had lost my trust in men. ‘I honestly can’t tell you. All I know is that I must be able to protect myself, no matter what, no matter who else is around, and never to rely on anyone else when it comes to my personal safety. I can’t ever trust a man again.’

‘That’s a valid reaction considering your history.’

There was a short conversation silence. I could hear Dr. Jones madly scribbling notes into her file titled, “Yolande Lawrence-Harrison”. I’m sure one of my therapy sessions will be on male trust, and learning to trust again.

‘Andi, I want you to visualise this … you’ve got your Audrey Hepburn style dress on, cleverly and safely covering up your chest scar. Your other scar is hidden, as you have perfected. On your feet are comfortable court shoes. I have chosen that style because you can run in them, or flick them off to throw, or to run faster from a possible threat.’ Dr. Jones sat opposite me and handed me a sketch pad. ‘I’d like you to draw a picture of yourself in your dress and shoes. Use any of the drawing implements that you feel will reflect how you feel about the situation.’

I took a calming breath and started to draw. Just a simple stick figure drawing of a girl in a dress with dress shoes. I used colour. I added a stick figure of Xander, in blue.

Dr. Jones leaned forward towards my art work. ‘What have you drawn on your face, Andi?’

‘It’s my mask. I wear it every day, without fail.’

‘Are you wearing it now?’

‘No. I feel safe to remove it here.’

‘Thanks. Would you now draw your handbag with all your safety tools inside it please? Visualisation is an important and powerful mind preparation tool.’

I drew a smallish bag, with only make-up inside it.

Dr. Jones looked at me and frowned. ‘Where’s your taser, laser light, mobile phone, pepper spray and self-defence rod?’

‘On me. In my pockets. If I lose my handbag in an attack, I still have protection implements.’

‘Clever.’

I picked up the black pen and gripped it in my hand. Hard. I let out a low scream between my gritted teeth and scribbled over the red mask on my drawing. Tears dripped from my eyes and landed on my drawing, making the ink run.

Dr. Jones did not speak. She did not react. After a while she asked, ‘What are you thinking, Andi?’

I sobbed. ‘I don’t want to keep wearing the mask … I don’t want to keep pretending everything is okay. I don’t want to be this person that I am after what happened. I want the carefree, happy, energetic, kind and loving me back. Everyone says it will get better with time. But it doesn’t. Why couldn’t it have been me, instead of her? It should have been me!’

There was a long silence. And I hated it. We had been over this road a million times before, and I wondered if Dr. Jones was getting tired of it.

‘Have you told her how you feel?’

‘No.’

‘Why?’

‘Because then I would feel ungrateful for being almost okay, when she’s not.’

‘You need to tell her, Andi.’

‘I know.’

‘When?’

‘Sometime in the future.’ I wasn’t ready yet. Was I being unkind? ‘And don’t ask me the magic wand question. There is no magic wand, so the question is pointless.’

‘You’re right. It is indeed a pointless question. So is wishing. If you want a wish to materialize, you have to act upon it and make it happen.’

‘Agreed.’

‘So, do you wish to go to the garden party with Xander in an Audrey Hepburn style dress with court shoes that you can either throw or fling off to run faster, and carry make-up in your bag while your self-defense tools are on your body and pockets to use in case your bag goes missing due to whatever reason?’

‘No. I do not wish to go. So it won’t be happening. Gram can accompany her beloved bicycle if she does not trust the very nice Xander to return it in one piece.’ I sighed and looked down at my hands. ‘I’m sorry for wasting your time today, Dr. Jones. Patients like me must be very frustrating.’

‘On the contrary, Andi. Challenging is a word I might use. But I love challenges. My goal is to help you overcome your obstacles by giving you a mental toolbox full of effective strategies, so you will be able to live a life full of rich and rewarding experiences with happiness thrown in as the icing on the cake. I have total confidence that you will get there.’

‘Some days are harder than others.’

‘Are the hard days becoming less?’

I thought for a bit. I didn’t like to look back into the past three years, but this question required it. ‘Yes. I think they are.’ I spoke in truth.

‘You do realise you’re looking a whole lot better now than when you came through that door an hour ago.’

Was she speaking the truth, or was she using psychological mumbo-jumbo on me? Words of persuasion. Whatever it was, her words did make me feel a little happier, and more like I could cope again. Maybe I wouldn’t have to put that mask back on when I walked out her door today …

‘Before we finish our session, Yolande, can I ask who the blue stick figure is in your picture?’

‘It’s Xander.’

‘Why is he blue?’

‘I see people in … colours …’

‘Like an aura?’

‘No. I see their character as a colour. The colour is usually above and behind their head.’

‘How do you work out their character?’

‘Intuition, behaviour, tone of voice, dress choice …’

‘Can their colour change?’

‘Absolutely, with incidents …’

‘I’m glad you feel safe enough to disclose this ability to me. How long have you possessed this way of seeing people?’

‘Since I was seven.’

‘What colour are you?’

I took a deep breath and twisted my fingers together. My stomach tightened. I cleared my throat. ‘The colour of broken …’

Dr. Jones was silent.

I stopped breathing when anxiety rose inside me like a wall of lava, about to incinerate me. It was freaking me out that she now knew this about me, and that she had not reacted to the description of my colour.

‘And what colour would that be?’ she finally asked.

I breathed out through my lips, slowly, steadily, counting to five in my head. ‘Gray with an “a”.’

‘There’s a difference?’

‘Oh, yes. Grey with an “e” is very different to gray with an “a”.’

‘How?’

‘Grey with an “e” is like the rain clouds. It’s melancholy, but an enjoyable melancholy that builds up until it releases, and then it’s like petrichor, the smell of the rain after warm, dry weather. Satisfying. Grey with an “e” is also when deep thought, philosophy and ponderings happen. Everyone should experience grey with an “e”, it helps to discover parts of you that you never knew existed, and it can vanish without leaving a bitter aftertaste.’

‘Tell me about gray with an “a”.’

I looked down at my knotted hands. ‘Gray with an “a” is … never enjoyable—it’s a very dark gray. It’s self-judgment, doom and gloom, forever hanging around and within. It wants to drag you into the dark abyss of the colour black, that absorbs all colours … the colour of self-condemnation, the colour of depression, the colour of death of the physical body.’

‘But not the spiritual body?’

‘No.’ I didn’t want to add any more to this conversation. It was painful to talk about.

‘So, me being a supposedly normal person, could I see your gray with an “a”?’

‘No. Because I mask it. And my gray with an “a” is not a plain gray with an “a”. It’s a crackled dark gray, with other colours that seep out … sometimes.’

‘What colours would they be?’

‘Drips of red for anger … specks of black—’ for self-hate, ‘—for my secret, blushes of pink for my love for Mia and my family, and explosions of turquoise that screams at me to love myself …’

‘That’s very insightful, Yolande. It’s highly intuitive. I’m curious … when you look at me, what colour am I?’

I hesitated before I spoke. I never told anyone the colour I had appointed to them for fear of them running from me. But Dr. Jones, she was different, she would understand …
‘You are … magenta,’ I finally said. ‘It’s the colour of a person who helps to construct harmony and balance in life, hope and aspiration for a better world—mentally and emotionally,’ I said, and held my breath, waiting for her reaction.

She raised her eyebrows at me. ‘That’s an amazing gift to have in your mind toolbox, Yolande. Does it ever lie to you?’

I closed my eyes. The two men on that terrible day of the scars were blue—trustworthy—until a truck load of alcohol changed them to negative red—aggressive and domineering, and then the drugs made them a violent and brutal dark red. Shades of red. Every colour had shades and positive and negative attributes. I pressed my lips together before I answered her question. ‘Alcohol and drugs change the essence of a person’s colour. But then I have to wonder whether their sober colour is their true color at all, and the inhibition that a little alcohol gives, reveals their real colour.’

‘Do you think I should be serving up glasses of wine, rather than cups of tea?’ Dr. Jones smiled at me.

‘Clearly. If anything, it would make great research!’ I grinned, wondering whether Dr. Jones would have a glass of red on the table for me next time I was here.

‘Thank you for everything you have shared with me today, Yolande. For Sunday, use the mind tools I have given you. I’m confident that the afternoon will go well. And try to allow yourself to enjoy the event.’

‘Thanks, Dr. Jones.’

We both stood and walked to her door. She opened it for me, and I left, without one of those smiles that said, “I’ve got my shit together!”

 

*  *  *  *  *

A portion of sales from this novel will be donated to Meniere’s disease research at Meniere’s Disease Research Fund Inc.

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Amelia Grace is the pen name of Julieann Wallace, who is a published author of multiple, sort after stories. She writes novels (under her pseudonym) and is an author and illustrator of numerous children’s picture books, written under her own name. Prior to her career as a writer, Julieann was an educator with Education Queensland (Australia) for 25 years, and was nominated twice for the National Excellence in Teaching Awards.
Julieann is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words that can create change to reach out to others. She is a self-confessed tea ninja, has a quirky cat named Claude Monet, and has a passion for music, art and sport. She lives in
Queensland, Australia, and is a paper cut survivor…

Julieann is a member of:

 

 

 

Weird Weirder Weirdest – a book review

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Title: Weird Weirder Weirdest
written & illustrated by: Martii Maclean
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books

Children’s Chapter Book author, Martii Maclean will have you turning the pages with her collection of short stories in ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’. The seven stories, suitable for children aged 8+, will have both kids and parents giggling, sniggering and laughing out loud.

But beware, behind some of the most hilarious parts are pieces of truth that every child and adult alike will see, and some may even recognise pieces of themselves in the characters or situations.

Besides being an entertaining read, ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ has some main characters as bullies, in relatable real life situations, and all children and grown-ups will delight when they receive their “just desserts”.

‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ is a perfect book of short stories that can be read independently, or as a book to read together at home. It contains pertinent concepts that every child will experience or witness at school, and Martii Maclean’s writing opens the incidents up for discussion.

In educational settings, ‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’ would be ideal to read a short story a day, and to encourage students to write their own ‘weird’ story. It would also to suitable to open the discussion topic of bullying, and the power of the bystander.

P_work_girl-2-232x300Comprehensive teaching notes (26 pages) for schools (with Australian Curriculum links), homeschooling and home, can be found at: http://www.martiimaclean.com/wp-content/uploads/Weird_Teaching-Notes.pdf well as a colouring page http://www.martiimaclean.com/wp-content/uploads/Weird-colouring-booklet.pdf for each short story – making it the perfect teaching resource.

‘Weird Weirder Weirdest’, written and illustrated by Martii Maclean has something for everyone. If you love Paul Jennings short stories, you will love this book too.

Purchase a copy: Weird Weirder Weirdest

Connect with Martii Maclean at:
website: www.martiimaclean.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MartiiMacleanAuthor/

Title: Weird Weirder Weirdest
Author: Martii Maclean
ISBN: 978-0-9945408-2-9 (print book)
ISBN:978-0-9945408-3-6 (eBook)
Publisher: Kooky Cat Books
First Published in Australia: 2017
Page Count: 102 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

 

Averil – The Master of Callus, a book review

BSP-Averil-1-The-Master-of-Callus-cover

Title: Averil – The Master of Callus
by: John Barwick
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Fourteen-year-old Averil has never been far from the small desert town of Aum. But all that is about to change. Chosen as a novice Trader-Diplomat on her first expedition, she finds a world full of surprises. But Evil is stirring, and Averil is drawn into a battle between malevolent powers that threatens to change the world forever. In a world of war and sorcery, Averil finds strengths and qualities she didn’t know she possessed.

Averil, Book 1 – The Master of Callus is a fantasy middle-school chapter book that takes the reader away from today’s fast-paced life of technology. The main character, a 14-year-old girl named Averil, has been chosen as a Trader-Diplomat, and must accompany warriors, a Wise One and a trading party to distant lands. During the journey, they encounter a number of challenges.

The story, written by retired Primary School Principal, John Barwick, has all the elements of a fantasy book with magic, world building, conflict and a power structure. It will appeal to readers who like to escape into novels with ships, castles and a sorcerer.

Purchase a copy: Averil – The Master of Callus – purchase

Title: Averil – The Master of Callus
by: John Barwick
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675177
Category: children’s
Subject: Fantasy , Adventure, Children
Pages: 300

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

 

Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper, a book review

BSP-Rudi-Hoopers-Super-Pooper-Scooper-seperate-cover

Title: Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper
by: Alan Horsfield
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Despite their best attempts to be noticed, Morris and Rudi Hooper have never received much acclaim. But this is all about to change when big brother Rudi grabs the spotlight for his rather dubious involvement in the local “Tidy Towns” scheme. Much to little brother Morris’s embarrassment, Rudi is now Sandbar’s official doggie droppings ranger! As the Hooper parents’ pride grows, so does Morris’s trepidation. Will Rudi’s gross new pursuit end in disaster as Morris suspects just when fame is finally within reach? Or can Morris get to the bottom of the rather messy problem before everything hits the fan?

I must admit, with the title of Alan Horsfield’s chapter book, ‘Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper’, I was expecting a book full of corny toilet humour story-lines. However, as I settled into the book, I discovered it was a well-written story about family, siblings and town pride, plus dog poop, and I became a fan of Rudi Hooper, who cleaned up the mess that nobody else would.

Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper is a book full of everything—problems, conflict, cheating, inventions, sibling rivalry then support, all tied in very nicely with a large dose of humour. Every child, person and dog will relate to this story. Everyone has seen that person walking a dog, who, as the dog goes down into the poop squat, looks away, then charges off immediately afterward, not caring to scoop up the offending deposit left by the dog. Thankfully, Rudi has a solution for the problem, and gains fans and fame—almost in a good way, and totally in a dramatic way that will have kids in fits of giggles.

Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper is guaranteed to capture the attention of children. They’ll be struggling to hold in bellies full of laughter from the opening pages of this action-packed book. Their curiosity as to finding out what happens next will become like an unquenchable thirst. There is no doubt this book will be a go to for a second read.

Purchase a copy: buy Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper

Title: Rudi Hooper’s Super Pooper-Scooper
By: Alan Horsfield
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675160
Category: Children
Pages: 62

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

Little Witch Book 3, Plots and Potions, a book review

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Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Drama, magic – and a miniature cat – abound in the latest Little Witch.

Plots & Potions is the 3rd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, is off to Bromlow Forest Adventure Camp with school, on her mother’s insistence, to work on fledging relationships, being new to the school.

School camp is everything Courtney dislikes – hikes, abseiling, bungee jumping and white-water rafting, but it’s made more bearable when she uses a shrinking spell on her cat, Inky, and takes him along to camp with her, safely nestled away in her pocket.

However, the mean and nasty Camp Director, Miss Maude Mouseheart, starts sneezing when she is close to Courtney. She suffers from a cat allergy and is highly suspicious of Courtney, who does well at hiding Inky, until disaster strikes.

As the story continues, Courtney discovers bits and pieces of information, that all point to something unsavoury going on at the camp grounds. As Courtney investigates, she uncovers a secret plot, and must take action, or forever be left with regret and grief.

Plots & Potions will have the reader turning the pages as fast as they can digest them, needing to know what will happen next. There’s good balance of friendship niggles and resolutions, camp fun, and added magical spells that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of the Little Witch Series.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 3 – Plots & Potions

Title: Plots & Potions (Little Witch book 3)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675252
Category: children’s
Subject: Magic, Spells
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

 

Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes, a book review

hauntings-hexes

Title: Hauntings & Hexes (Little Witch Book 2)
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

New home. New school. New friends. And new enemies… The summer holidays are over. It’s time for Courtney to start at her new school and settle into life in Mixton Bay. No problem. Right? Except for the fact that Courtney is a witch-in-training so `fitting in’ isn’t the easiest thing to do. When a malevolent spirit bent on revenge is released into the world, things get dangerous for Courtney and those closest to her. Will she be able to save the day and keep her growing powers a secret?

Hauntings and Hexes is the 2nd book in the Little Witch book series by author, Aleesah Darlison. The main character, Courtney, starts at a new school, and has all the usual social uncomfortableness with trying to make new friends. She also creates some accidental, and not so accidental disasters with her new found white witch powers.

In one such incident in science class, Courtney is asked to hold a bald rat. Filled with fear, she unleashes a spell that calls every cat in the town of Mixton Bay to rescue her. Hence, the typical boring science lesson becomes phenomenal in the eyes of the students. However, Mr Zenebar, the science teacher recognises Courtney’s magic and tells her to visit the cemetery, where she meets a ghost, who requests her to find a grey book.

As the story continues, we meet Eleanor, a flying tricycle which is at Courtney’s beck and call, and the evil grimoire—a talking and flying black magic book that belongs to the ghost in the crypt at the cemetery. However, the reunion of the ghost and the grimoire unleashes black magic in the town, and it’s up to Courtney to banish the evil ghost by returning it to the Soul Tree forever, or until she can mend her ways.

Hauntings and Hexes is a fast-paced chapter book packed with action, humour and a few surprises. It is well-written and will have Little Witch fans turning the pages as they absorb the magical story.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch Book 2 – Hauntings & Hexes

Title: Little Witch Book 2  – Hauntings & Hexes
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925520-57-6
Category: Children’s/Children’s Fiction 8+
Subject: Children, Magic, Witches, Humour
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
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Magic Fish Dreaming, a book review

 

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Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Books

A full colour poetry book, inspired by the diverse people of Far North Queensland and their tropical environment. It’s full of some of the strangest birds and animals, as well as resilient rainforest, cane farms and tropical beaches.

Beyond the title page is the dedication page, and words stopped me in my tracks …

Dedicated to:

All my ancestors
who sing and
dance the stories

And the ones
who listen

When you read a dedication that gives you goose-bumps, you know you are in for a treat, and the fact that Magic Fish Dreaming won several Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, only reinforces the feeling that this stunning book of poetry is one that will capture your heart.

Magic Fish Dreaming is written by talented and compassionate author, Dr June Perkins. Her PhD was on the subject of writing empowerment.

When you open the book, you’ll discover that Magic Fish Dreaming is in two parts.

Part 1 – Hunting for Giggle Poems

Hunting for Giggle Poems is touching, spiritual, and enjoyable. The poetic words will reach out and wrap their words around you, creating a special bond to the earth, making you feel like you must be a protector of all that we have been given. You’ll also find yourself smiling and trailing after the children with their net as they go to capture poems full of giggles.

Part 2 – Magic Fish Dreaming

It’s flowing, soothing, and caressing, with people and spirituality. There’s chats between a father and son, a mother and children, a cassowary and children. There’s magic and wishes and the wonder of creation. There’s fun with the storm dancers, a bottle lost at sea, and a geckos dance, plus many more.

June Perkins has teamed up with talented artist, Helene Magisson, who imbues June’s poetic words with the gift of visual art. Besides enjoying the words of the poems, the reader will spend an age meandering in each of the illustrations, lost in the magical colours, the action, and the flowing peace that leaps off the pages. Helene’s art style is enchanting, making your heart sing.

If you are fishing for a beautifully written and inspiring book of poetry, Magic Fish Dreaming must be on your ‘to purchase list’. If you could ever fall in love with a poetry book, it would be this one.

I highly recommend Magic Fish Dreaming. It will make you feel like the world is a beautiful, wonderous place as the author weaves her gift of words on the page. When you finally close the book, you will be left with a feeling of peacefulness.

June Perkins is right. Writing is empowering: for the author, and the reader.

Purchase a copy: Magic Fish Dreaming

Title: Magic Fish Dreaming
by: June Perkins
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
ISBN: 9780980731187
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Gumbootspearlz Press
17 poems, 48 pages

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Slowly! Slowly! a book review

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Title: Slowly! Slowly!
by: T. M. Clark
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.
Slowly, slowly, he must go.
Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

I love the very first sentence of Slowly! Slowly! written by author, T. M. Clark:

Bongani stood tall.

It is brimming with anticipation. And as you read on, you can feel the blanket of peace and love that surrounds the main character. The words of the story also whisper that same blanket to you, gently, gently, like the singing of a lullaby.

Slowly! Slowly! is a clever story. Imbued into the tale is the unfolding guidance of how to catch a monkey with the kind encouragement of the father, the calm teaching of the grandfather, and the insightful way of looking at a problem from a different point of view, which is a way of teaching resilience.

Inside the story, we follow a young child named Bongani, while he tries to catch a monkey. His failed attempts are followed by guidance from his grandfather, revealed layer by layer, teaching Bongani patience; a virtue that is sometimes lost in the busy-ness of our lives today.

I particularly enjoyed the way Bongani’s family would work out whether he was ready for school …

‘Dad, am I big enough?
Am I higher than the hyena?
Can I go to school?’

Mathematically, the act of measuring your height against an animal to see if you are tall enough to go to school is full of imagination and excitement. This comparison would make an interesting discussion in families and schools.

Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has once again shown her extraordinary artistic talent in the pages of Slowly! Slowly! and has created a visual space where a variety of thoughts and ideas coexist in addition to the text, telling a story where the words don’t, or where the words imply particular ideas or feelings. Helene’s choice of gentle tones wraps around the mind of the reader, encouraging a connection and deep understanding of the character of Bongani.

Parents and teachers will love Slowly! Slowly! as author, T.M. Clark, deploys with sparkling effect, the use of alliteration, repetition, word rhythm and story building. The tale naturally lends itself to variance of voice as you read, from gentle words to the shouting of “GO AWAY!”

Slowly! Slowly! is an engaging and heart-warming story that is a must for children to read. Patience, compassion and resilience speak a gentle heart-song through the story, gifting children with mind tools to use through their lifetime.

(Slowly! Slowly! is adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts)

Purchase a copy: Slowly! Slowly!

Title: Slowly! Slowly!
Author: T. M. Clark
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Format: 9781925563221
ISBN: Hard cover
For ages: 3+

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, a book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

School camp can be fun, but not when it’s run by a nasty bully who picks on Tommy Bell and his friends. But when Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat takes him back in time to meet up with Ben Hall and his gang, Tommy discovers that even in the gold rush days there were bullies … and they were on both sides of the law!

They also really knew how to make trouble …

Multi-published author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Ben Hall, with accurate observation through the eyes of a fictional young character, Tommy Bell.

Tommy is on school camp at the town of Young, an old goldmining town. He lists the good and bad things about going on a school camp, but the worst thing about this camp is one of the leaders, Mr Porter. He is just outright mean and nasty. In fact, he is a bully. A grown-up bully! It’s during one of Mr Porter’s bullying rants that he shoves Tommy’s woven ‘straw-like’ hat made from the leaves of a cabbage-tree onto Tommy’s head, and in an instant, he finds himself back in time. He notices that the air is fresher and the birdsong louder, before a man enters Tommy’s time-travel adventure – Ben Hall (9 May 1837 – 5 May 1865) – an Australian bushranger.

Tommy joins Ben Hall and his accomplices—Johnny Gilbert, John O’Meally and Patrick Daley. They ride on horseback to a placed named Little Wombat, a goldfield near Young. When they enter Mr Soloman’s store, a gun battle breaks out: Tommy has just witnessed a robbery. Tommy hangs around with the bushrangers for a little longer before he removes his time-travel hat and returns to his school camp where his friend finds gold. However, the callous Mr Porter claims the gold as his, gets angry and shoves Tommy’s hat back onto his head. Tommy travels back in time again to Ben Hall, and the scene of another hold-up: a failed bank robbery.

Tommy also witnesses other incidents with Ben Hall in this action-packed chapter book that will have readers turning the pages. Another bonus to this Bushranger Boy series can be found the final pages of the book—a chapter called ‘Historical Note’, which contains a photograph of Ben Hall and interesting information about his life.

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, is the fifth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection. It’s a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for schools, independent readers, and for kids who love Australian history.

I’m looking forward to Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Book 6 due for release in 2019, titled Mrs Thunderbolt.

Purchase a copy: Tommy Bell-Bushranger Boy-Gang of Thieves

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675238
Category: children
Pages: 100
Subject: Bushranger, Adventure series

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

Julieann is a member of:

Little Witch Book 1 – Secrets & Spells, a book review

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Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Black cats, a strange presence in the house, and family secrets …

Secrets & Spells (Little Witch Book 1), by author Aleesah Darlison, is a fun, yet daring chapter book, with an intriguing storyline in a fast-paced tale. From the onset, young independent readers will become invested in the story, as the main character, Courtney, discovers secrets in the attic of the house of her late grandmother, at a sleepy coastal town.

When Courtney finally sneaks some hidden time in the attic, she discovers a spell book left to her by her late grandmother, whom she has never met. And this is where the story becomes interesting.

Adding to the mix of intrigue is a black cat named Inky, and a surf boy, Justice, who seems to know more about her grandmother than she does, and lets slip that her grandmother was a white witch. As the story progresses, Courtney decides to try out one of her grandmother’s spells: How To Make Your Cat Talk, with disastrous results.

Aleesah Darlison has penned a well-written, fast-paced chapter book with likeable characters, including an adorable cat that knows more about everything than anyone else.

Purchase a copy: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells

Title: Little Witch – Secrets & Spells
by: Aleesah Darlison
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925520101
Subject: Magic, Spells, witchcraft
Category: 8+
Pages: 176

This book was given to Julieann by Big Sky Publishing for review

Reviewed by Julieann Wallace 
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

Julieann is a member of:

 

The Duke of Hinklewinkle, a book review

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Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Bridget lives in the sleepy, seaside town of Hinklewinkle. She spends a lot of time with her Grandpa. Her mother often has to work late and her father lives in another town. Luckily, her caring Grandpa is always close at hand to help out. Grandpa breeds show chickens and Bridget loves to help out. One day when Bridget is feeling a little lonely, Grandpa decides to let Bridget pick a chicken of her own. Far from picking the most beautiful chicken, she picks a strange looking rooster she names the “Duke of Hinklewinkle”. The two become inseparable. When Grandpa’s cranky old neighbour, Mr Borewater’s chickens are under threat, The Duke of Hinklewinkle surprises everyone.

If you like chickens, then The Duke of Hinklewinkle is for you. It’s a picture book narrative for primary aged children, written in third person, by author and illustrator, John Phillips.

In the story we meet Bridget, who lives in a sleepy, seaside town. Her grandpa breeds show chickens and lets her choose her very own chicken. After carefully considering the Long Beaked Australorp, the Stilt Legged Sussex, the Giant Combed Old English Bantam and the Headless Brahma, Bridget chooses a very unusual and slightly odd-looking rooster—a Big Beaked Pencilled Hortner—and names him, “The Duke of Hinklewinkle”. They become best friends in no time. But trouble is looming in the form of the next-door neighbour, Mr Borewater, who tells Bridget that Big Beaked Pencilled Hortners are silly birds. Little does he know that something is about to happen in the dark night to prove him wrong.

As an artist, John Phillips has created colourful and quirky illustrations to accompany his story. The illustrated chickens are guaranteed to keep the reader entertained.

The Duke of Hinklewinkle is a story with a diverse family – Bridget’s grandfather helps with her upbringing as well as her mother, while her father works in a different town. The big theme of the book is friendships, not only Bridget and her chicken, but neighbourly friendship as well.

Purchase a copy: The Duke of Hinklewinkle

Title: The Duke of Hinklewinkle
Written and illustrated by: John Phillips
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675191
Category: primary
Pages: 32

Julieann received this book from Big Sky Publishing for review.

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Published Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
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