Hidden Reads – Issue 3

Welcome hunters of reading treasure and possessors of treasures. Issue 3 is proud to welcome aboard L.J. Jackson – a new Hidden Reads contributor. We have more articles from our two article writers (Marthilda Burton and our own Porle Joen), as well as three full book reviews of the work of some of our Hidden Reads self-published authors – MR Graham, Jeannie Meekins, and Carole Nomarhas. ENJOY!

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HIDDEN READS HAPPENINGS
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You can now find a new structure on the Hidden Reads website. We have cleaned it up a bit so have a look (there is a site map for quick reference). Links to book reviews are now available here.

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The author submission page has now been updated to reflect the breakdown of submissions into three categories:

Hidden Reads Submission Form 2014 – Self-Published Authors – this form is for submission of self-published novels, novellas, short stories, anthologies, and long non-fiction.

Hidden Reads Submission Form 2014 – Article Writers and Bloggers – this form is for the submission of articles and blogs. Articles can include journalistic of other non-fiction short works, shorts stories, poetry, etc that have been published with approval on sites such at Wikinut, Ezine Articles, Hub Garden, etc.

Hidden Reads Submission Form 2014 – Events – this form is to advertise your sales, promotions, and appearances. If you are having a limited time sale on you self-published work or appearing at a convention as a special guest, tell us about it here.

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SELF-PUBLISHED HIDDEN READS
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LJ Clark

The Silver Strand by L.J. Clarkson australia

Children / Tween Fantasy Adventure, 283 pages
  • Self-Published through Lightning Source
  • ISBN: 978-0-9923017-0-5 (paperback);  978-0-9923017-1-2 (e-book)
  • RRP: $17.95 AUD $11.99 US
  • Release date: 24th September, 2013

Brief synopsis of the story (the blurb on the back of the book is fine: Ever since twelve year old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker.  Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes.

The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle’s source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It’s also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the hollow earth. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn’t count on is that there is more at stake than just her life.

The Silver Strand, a tween fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.

Available from:

Reviews:

- Amazon gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-starblank-star Reviews available here.

- Goodreads  gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-starblank-star Reviews available here.

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HIDDEN ARTICLES
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By Mathilda Burton australia

“The Turn Around”
– 
http://selfavenue.com/the-turn-around/

“Recognising and Accepting Your Faults”
– 
http://selfavenue.com/recognising-and-accepting-your-faults/

“Being Afraid”
– 
http://selfavenue.com/being-afraid/

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By Porle Joen australia

“Launching Your Book in Style (Even on a Tight Budget) – Part 3: Decorating Your Venue”
http://www.wikinut.com/launching-your-book-in-style-even-on-a-tight-budget-%E2%80%93-part-3%3a-decorating-your-venue/2gx8w43-/3yow5m7j/

“Book Review – Red Queen by Honey Brown”
http://www.wikinut.com/book-review%3a-red-queen-by-honey-brown/15bomc-5/3_g-pmwy/

“Film Review – Red Hill (2010)”
– 
http://www.wikinut.com/film-review%3a-red-hill-2010/2s3j8xqp/2w2_5iti/

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HIDDEN BLOGS
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Sinister Reads

http://sinisterreads.wordpress.com/

  • Sinister Reads is a project managed by the Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) used to promote the work of its members.
  • Horror writers take their craft seriously and professionally – people get a thrill out of being scared, not necessarily being grossed out, but frightened by things they know cannot harm them in reality. Horror can but doesn’t have to be violent or bloody or disgusting; what it needs to do is to create fear in the reader.

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HIDDEN READS REVIEWS
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MR Graham

Mr Graham – In the Shadow of the Mountains

There is a stranger in town. Burns City is the kind of small town in which a new arrival turns heads and starts tongues flapping so when the stranger arrives under the cover of an icy blizzard, speculation begins among the townsfolk, but little do they know how wrong they are. In the Shadow of the Mountains is a paranormal fantasy novel wonderfully constructed by MR Graham that will leave you guessing and perhaps even leave you with a bit of a scar on your chin from the numerous jaw dropping revelations.

The story follows the usually uneventful lives of child prodigy Aaron, slacker/clown Chris and his best friend Liz. The small town of Burns City is not prepared for a sudden spate of local murders and it is not unexpected that some suspicion falls on the shoulders of the newest community member. Can is be a coincidence that the murders began just days after his arrival? Aaron is convinced that this man who is finally someone he can converse with on an intellectual level is innocent; however, Chris is not so sure. Without intention, the trio of teens stumble into a supernatural world that can’t possibly exist and Aaron and Chris are forced into an unlikely teaming with the strange man in the house at the end of the street. What follows is page turning plot with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and then questioning your own conclusions.

In the Shadow of the Mountains begins with a very detailed description of a small town, free from crime where everyone knows everyone else. An icy blizzard approaches as does a stranger drawing a powerfully ominous parallel that sets the scene in a way that is not thoroughly understood until the last pages. MR Graham has done a marvelous job of creating a sense of setting around the story-line and characters that grips the reader until the final word. The author has a remarkable talent for creating a scene in which you can see, feel, and even smell the surroundings.

Journal entries by Liz and Chris show their undeniable youth at the beginning of the novel and the author has captured the vocabulary and teenage issues with perfection. The first journal entry occurs after a wonderfully visual description of the town so it is an unexpected change of pace. It shows the author’s ability to embrace the point of view and thoughts of her different characters. It is a valuable inclusion to have the internal thoughts and insights and serves well to highlight the growth of these characters throughout the novel, none more so than Chris.

In the Shadow of the Mountains is wrapped and entwined with intrigue and hidden meanings with enough clues and throw away lines for the attentive reader to be able to piece together the mystery, but even the attentive reader can easily miss the clues that lead to the biggest revelation and the moment that my jaw hit the ground before I broke into a massive smile of approval and excitement. No spoilers here, you will just have to read it yourself and I highly recommend that you do.

Review available HERE

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UNDER THE BRIDGEJeannie Meekins – Under the Bridge australia

There are few of us that can say we were never bullied at school. It is a sad reality that although we are all different, that difference can be a target for others who are themselves probably also bullied. Under the Bridge is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book by Australian author Jeannie Meekins that addresses this very real issue and provides a very valuable lesson to the reader. “One day you might be the one no one wants to play with,” Mrs Wheeler warns the school bully. But it is not just about bullying, there is also the wonderfully presented idea of seeing the world from a different perspective.

Under the Bridge is set in an Australian school that I would hazard to guess is in Melbourne due to a very Victorian discussion of AFL teams that takes place between a group of children. Michael is new at the school – an already difficult situation without the addition of being harassed for his ethnicity. Michael meets another boy, Kyle, who is also different though not as obviously, and they strike up a friendship. As the two friends learn about themselves and teach each other about their differing worlds, the gap between differences closes. And as expected, the school bully learns a valuable lesson in understanding.

The journey of Under the Bridge addresses the themes of racism, sexism, and unconscious discrimination and assumptions. Jeannie Meekins has woven all of these through her piece using very typical and relatable situations and interactions. I have read similar stories that explore the themes of bullying and discrimination, but what sets Under the Bridge apart as unique, aside from the beautiful Australian setting, is the way in which the lessons are presented. The learning and knowledge come through a child who himself is discriminated against, not by the other children but by the adults in his life who want to protect him yet are preventing him from being a part of the society of children he interacts with. Children can be cruel, but adults can be blind.

This book is beautifully illustrated by AT Davidson who captures the Australian landscape with colourful depictions of the Australian flora and fauna. The illustrations add colour and clarity to the words and are perfectly positioned throughout the work. The school children are presented in uniforms that all Australian children would be familiar with complete with the typically Australian broad-brimmed hats. The children’s expressions are very easy to read and compliment the story. The intelligent and wise beyond his years, Kyle, often wears a broad smile that shows his optimistic approach to life. AT Davidson is a fine artist with a high attention to detail that allows the viewer to feel the warmth of the sun through the placement of shadows.

The vocabulary would be suited to a child with a reading age of 10 to 12 though would appeal to children outside of this age bracket. The vocabulary is age appropriate and the characters are highly relatable even if their specific differences are not. The author does not use the differences themselves to get her point across, but rather the children’s feeling about how they are treated and how they respond to this. A great read with a valuable and timely message.

Review available HERE

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Soul Horizon_ebook_FinalCarole Nomarhas – Soul Horizon australia

“The port had a name but it was of no importance to Terras.” This is the opening line of Soul Horizon by Australian author, Carole Nomarhas. The first sentence of any novel should be a window into all that follows with a hidden premise that will urge readers forward and this is precisely what the author achieves. From the first well constructed and visually inciting paragraphs, I was drawn into the world of Soul Horizon. In just three paragraphs, I had a clear sense of setting and the deeper character of Terras.

Terras and Quell are two very different beings, both hunted for their own reasons. Forced into each other’s worlds on-board a dying ship, they are taken on a journey of fear, heroism, and discovery and the reader is encourage along, enticed by possibilities and intrigue. Alien species, humans, mutants – in Soul Horizon, they are all versions of humanity and alien. The author has brilliantly created several different races without determining absolutely which is “Human”, if any. All have an aspect of humanity yet all are distinctly alien to each other. The interaction between two opposing species is brilliantly delivered from both points of view. Rarely do we see two adversaries so well described from each differing point of view. What we find is a humanistic fear of each other hidden behind arrogance and the belief that each is moralistically superior to the other.

Quell is instantly a strong character and just as instantly likable. He knows his place in comparison to other species but it does not stop him from pushing beyond those inflicted limitations. His strength of character and his childhood fears and adult rebellion are nicely summated in the line: “…no longer child-sized and forced to stare up at the Hironi. Not like the old days. Behind that mask they’d be about eye to eye.” He has stored anger and self-doubt but an external arrogance and confidence that he himself proclaims as suicidal: “Quell tried to match the Hironi’s arrogance. It was not a game for beginners.”

Nomarhas makes use of long descriptive sentences interwoven with short, punchy wording that flows brilliantly. I easily read this work in one sitting as each chapter left me wanting to know what happens next. The dialogue is structured in such a way that there are sections of conversation though it is certainly not overdone and the dialogue stays true for each character. The dialogue and even the vocabulary used within the descriptions of each character’s lot are strongly tied to that character. The Hironi is and precise, arrogant, direct. Quell is a brave-heart, teetering on a tightrope of arrogance and fear that pushes him to the edge of his very life – the words around him are more cautious and casual and often truncated. Soul Horizon is peppered with beautifully descriptive passages such as the interacting consciousnesses of a Speaker and his ship.

I am not interested in stories that tell you what to think; I like to be challenged, I like to have a clear visual of the setting with the ability to create the picture in my mind while leaving room for my own assumptions and creations. I like a story to build questions and to loop back and answer those questions and I like to feel that if I read the work again, I will find more links and additional hidden clues will jump out at me to make the world of the novel even clearer. Soul Horizon fed me a healthy dose of exactly what I was after. I will read this book again, and again, as it is the type of read in which you know there are more discoveries to uncover, more links and hidden messages. Highly recommended.

Review available HERE

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