I’d recommend How to survive your magical family for any reader young adult and up. No need to limit yourself if you’ve passed that age bracket. Clare Rhoden is an excellent author. Her storytelling will draw you in. An afternoon of entertaining reading pleasure awaits you.
Right from the opening line, How to Survive Your Magical Family is a delight. This novel for younger readers delivers magic, mystery and mayhem… plus credible characters, lots of humour and action aplenty.
Toby is the youngest of the Dartin family and has the least magic. His sister, Helen, has much more practical magical abilities, such as healing animals, ‘imagining a parking spot into existence’ and turning off the iron after she’s left home. All Toby can do is charm any cat that comes to him.
Told between Toby’s point of view and that of his best friend Mia, How to Survive Your Magical Family leaps between normal family dynamics and kidnapping, bribery and vengeance.
Rhoden has created a completely believable alternative world where magical people and ‘flats’ – those who can’t see magic – interact happily, mostly without the ‘flats’ knowing. But she has also created credible child characters, Toby and Mia, who show courage and
intelligence, and have real agency throughout, even in the most hopeless situations. It’s also refreshing that she shows them as young people clearly out of their depth at times, kids who need to rely on the adults in their lives (most of whom are loving and capable) to help them.
… How to Survive Your Magical Family is great fun, and there are enough loose ends to mean that a sequel could be on the cards, to which I say, ‘Deal me in!’ A fabulous read. Highly recommended.
Announcing This Fresh Hell, a brand new horror anthology from the remarkable, innovative Clan Destine Press. You can pre-order this beautifully horrible book now (at a whopping 20% discount!). And yay! I have a story (or half of one) in this stunning collection of amazing tales.
From the blurb:
This Fresh Hell
A driver picks up a hitchhiker from the side of a road; a family moves in to a house that may be haunted; a visit to the cabin in the woods goes terribly wrong…
We all know how those stories end – OR DO WE? In This Fresh Hell, every story begins with a well-known horror trope but ends with a twist, bringing new life and unexpected resolutions to old ideas. Emerging and established authors from around the world reignite and subvert horror tropes in 19 wholly original, genre-bending stories.
Among these unexpected tales, a Slender Man offers help to a boy in trouble; a restorer develops an unusual bond with a cursed doll; a heartbroken influencer tests her mettle aboard a luxurious cruise from hell; a haunted house hesitates to terrify its new residents… Ranging from the chilling to the quirky, these are stories for dedicated horror fans as well as those dipping their toes into the genre for the first time.
And look at the wonderful cover by Claire L. Smith (@clairelsmxth on IG)
In this fearsome fray you’ll find a story I co-authored with the dedicated, decorated, devoted writer Eugen Bacon.
Our story PAPERWEIGHT is about a librarian, a cursed stone, a love-struck innocent (or not-so-innocent) and the fear of being buried alive…
This Fresh Hell presents stories by:
A.J. Vrana, Annie McCann, C. Vonzale Lewis, Candace Robinson, Chuck McKenzie, Claire L. Smith, Claire Low, Clare E. Rhoden, Elle Beaumont, Eugen Bacon, Gillian Polack, Greg Herren, Jason Franks, Katya de Becerra, L.J.M. Owen, Narrelle M. Harris, Raymond Gates, Sarah Glenn Marsh, Sarah Robinson-Hatch, Tansy Rayner Roberts.
I trust you’ll enjoy this marvellous collection. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and read all the other terrifying stories!
Fifteen years ago, I started my PhD journey looking at Australian stories of World War I. I wanted to discover how Australian writers of WWI transformed their experiences into fiction. Arguably, I’ve read more of these books than anyone in the world. Here are my recommendations for Australian stories you might like to read, if you’re interested in Australian perspectives of war.
Some people said
THERE ARE NO AUSTRALIAN NOVELS OF WWI!
But there are, and I discovered that Australian stories are different from the famous WWI texts of the English-speaking world (but that would be another post!).
Here are my selected reading lists for Australian novels of WWI. Copy and paste a title into your library catalogue (or preferred retailer) and get reading. I need more people to talk about these with! So read on …
Books of the Time:
By Australian veterans (first published; most recently published):
Leonard Mann, Flesh in Armour (1932;2008)
J.P. McKinney, Crucible (1935; 2012)
Frederic Manning, The Middle Parts of Fortune (1929/30; 2012)
Ion Idriess, The Desert Column (1935; 2017)
G.D. Mitchell, Backs to the Wall (1937; 2007)
By non-combatants (first published; most recently published):
Mary Grant Bruce, From Billabong to London (1914; 2019), Jim and Wally (1915; 2019), Captain Jim (1916; 2022), and Back to Billabong (1919; 2015).
Ethel Turner, The Cub: Six Months in his Life: a Story in War-Time (1915; 1958), Captain Cub (1917), Brigid and the Cub (1919).
2000s Australian WWI Novels:
A selection. There are more.
Ian Callinan, After the Monsoon (2004)
John Charalambous, An Accidental Soldier (2014)
Jackie French, A Rose for the Anzac Boys (2008)
Stephen Daisley, Traitor (2009)
David Metzenthen, Boys of Blood and Bone (2003)
David Metzenthen, Black Water (2007)
Clare Rhoden, The Stars in the Night (2017)
Brenda Walker, The Wing of Night (2005)
Sheila Walker, The Ghost at the Wedding (2010)
Chris Womersley, Bereft (2010)
Peter Yeldham, Barbed Wire And Roses (2007)
Please let me know if/when you’ve read any of these. I’d love to discuss 🙂
Whereas last month’s open submission calls all seemed to be horror-flavoured, this month I’ve come across a wealth of science fiction venues seeking story submissions. Maybe horror editors prefer the winter, and the impending arrival of spring is bringing out all the SF publishers? If you’d like to receive notifications of open submission calls direct […]
A stunning dystopian world with heart, soul, and hope. For ages 15+.
The complete Chronicles, with one copy of all three novels, signed, plus standard postage for only $45.95. Order the box set by December 12th for pre-Christmas delivery.
“Progressing through the series, I was in awe of the author’s ability to handle grief and intense drama, yet bring hope, faith, loyalty and kindness into such abysmal chaos.”
Thank you for reading and sharing my books.
And please remember how awesome it is if you ask your local library to order one of my books. It helps me to reach readers and adds it mite to the upkeep of the writing attic, all at no cost to you. Thanks!!
What an incredibly sweet story about a boy, friends, family and a loveable group of cats! — Megs, on Goodreads
This is a fun magical story! Really really cool worldbuilding here. I love in general that cats are the “good guys” even though this is a story about cool, sometimes spooky, magic. — Julia, on Goodreads
“Waiting is the hardest thing ever.” Heart, soul, and adventure; this one has it all. Absolutely a light, fun read. — MyBookNest7
I really liked how cute the story was, where it went, the cats, and how they colored the whole story. I feel like there’s a second book in the future. There is not really a cliffhanger, or any thing to indicate that specifically, but I was left with some questions I could see wrapping a second story around and I would absolutely be there to read it. — Steph Bauer
♥️If you like books featuring cats…ESPECIALLY magical cats….this is your next book to pick up♥️ — ShortBookThyme on Instagram
In the meantime, here’s a little snippet of the action:
While Helen drew the sedan over to the side of the carriageway, I walked slowly along the wet verge, scanning the asphalt where the cat was struck, listening for any mewing. There was no sound other than the slick swishing of tyres on rainy road as the traffic sorted itself back into its usual pattern. There wasn’t even any blood. In the gutter, though, was a silver bracelet.
The bracelet was pretty battered and bent, but it looked like solid silver. I considered picking it up. It had a charm clipped on it, in a kind of round shape. But I was searching for something alive, so I walked right on, scanning the verge. Nothing. I turned back toward the car.
Passing that shining bit of silver again, I could see that the round charm was actually in the form of a cat, and the bracelet was more of a bangle and not so battered as I first thought. When I turned to look at it a third time, the round cat charm was seated upright on top of the bangle, looking directly at me.
I gave in. I’m not my father’s son for nothing. Okay, cat plus charm plus silver equals magic. Though why the street cat thought this was a kitten …
I picked up the bangle…
Can’t wait to read on? How to Survive Your Magical Family is available now at these online stores: