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Kirkus Review for Destination Dachshund

Kirkus Review for Destination Dachshund

I was so pleased to receive a positive book review for Destination Dachshund from one of the most prestigious brands in publishing – Kirkus Reviews. Servicing the book industry since the 1930’s, Kirkus Reviews ‘stands for integrity, honesty and accessible reviews written with an insider’s eye’ and the Kirkus Indie program gives self-publishers like me the chance to earn honest critical review.

STS_DD Ebook In between light and dark V5.2_mini_mini“A likable author makes for a likable, dog-centric travel book.” – Kirkus Review

“Fleetwood’s resulting chronicle of a multigenerational family trip—88 days, 15 countries, and 60 dachshund spottings—has an invitingly chatty tone that makes one feel like one is traveling with her.” – Kirkus Review

“…Fleetwood can be a sensitive observer and she has an admirable fascination with and respect for history.” – Kirkus Review

I am pretty happy with the review (read full review below). To have received a positive review from such a respected player in the book industry means a lot to me. If the only slightly negative thing they can say is that we walked past a memorial to fallen Jews and then spotted a dachshund is a jarring juxtaposition then I’m ok with that – that’s what happened and that is life. We were feeling sad at the memorial but then a dachshund scampered by – what are we to do except delight in that? Life is a series of juxtapositions like that.

Full Review:
In her debut memoir, Australia-based blogger Fleetwood shares the highs and lows of an extended family trip from Sydney to New York City. The transition from blog to book is trickier than many writers realize, but for the most part, Fleetwood has the knack. In 2010, right before Fleetwood and her family took off from Sydney, one of their dachshunds, Coco, died unexpectedly; the remaining dog, Charlie, she says, “won’t leave our side or our laps…his howls break our hearts.”

In honor of Coco, the family invents a trip-long game of dachshund sightings. Fleetwood’s resulting chronicle of a multigenerational family trip—86 days, 15 countries, and 60 dachshund spottings—has an invitingly chatty tone that makes one feel like one is traveling with her.

The family goes to Singapore; Istanbul; Moscow; Budapest, Hungary; Nuremberg, Germany; Paris; and Dublin (with numerous stops in between), before finally reaching New York in time for Christmas. There, they discover that “People are all going in different directions and are pushy, loud and rough.” But Fleetwood is otherwise delighted by almost everything else she encounters, be it a dinner cruise on Europe’s Danube River or a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France (Christmas markets are her admitted addiction).

She’s also as adept at noting what it’s like to travel with family as she is at describing cathedrals, castles, battlefields, and Roman ruins. In Turkey, for example, her 12-year-old son “barters for a fez hat that he will probably never wear again”; later, at a Paris café, she notes her recently widowed mother’s loneliness, achingly detectable under her otherwise cheerful demeanor.

Fleetwood can be a sensitive observer and she has an admirable fascination with and respect for history. But occasionally, there are jarring juxtapositions. In Krakow, Poland, for example, the family visits a monument to many thousands of Krakow Jews who died in World War II; barely a paragraph later, Fleetwood’s husband spots a miniature dachshund: “I follow his pointed finger, and sure enough ahead in the distance is a darling brown miniature dachshund. It’s so cute!”

Overall, though, the author ably conveys the fleeting pleasures of managing a trip that embraces both grandparents and grandchildren. By the time they get to Poland, for example, the kids complain they are “churched out,” and anyone who’s ever been part of a family outing will certainly relate.

A likable author makes for a likable, dog-centric travel book.

2016 Koala Awards: (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) #mustread list of great Aussie children’s books! #AusLitLove

2016 Koala Awards: (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards) #mustread list of great Aussie children’s books! #AusLitLove

I’ve just come across The Koala Awards (Kids Own Australian Literature Awards). Their main goal: ‘KOALA seeks to provide children a voice within the general Australian children’s book industry.’ How good is that? The winners are announced on Thursday, 3rd November, 2016 at Blackheath Public School, NSW. Good luck to all those nominated!

KOALA is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers (teacher/librarians, public librarians, teachers, publishers and other supporters of children’s literature). Every year, young readers from all over New South Wales judge their very own literary awards. By voting in the KOALA awards they can reward the Australian children’s books that have most inspired, amused, terrified, enlightened and engaged them.

“Of all the awards, the ones that kids choose themselves always mean the most. But they are also a great way to show kids that what THEY love is important.” Jackie French

Koala Awards 2016 shortlist 

For all those people out there looking for a great read for their children.

ScreenshotKoala 2016 Shortlist+2016-06-22+12.41.29




2016 Stella Prize Shortlist – Fine Literary Investigations

2016 Stella Prize Shortlist – Fine Literary Investigations


The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. It is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin (who, by the way, pretended to be a man to have her book, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901.) I’m so glad it’s not as difficult now for talented women writers to have their work acknowledged.

The shortlist was announced today and although only in its 4th year, the prize garners plenty of interest. Whittled down from twelve books to six by five judges, the books are described by Brenda Walker, Chair of the 2016 prize as:

“… exceptionally strong: finely composed and compassionate literary investigations of the fate of individuals interacting with the natural world and with social authority; with protection and self-protection in complicated environments; with the hard-won joy of living.

Angela Long the literary reviewer here at Welcome to My Library has been busy since the longlist was announced a few weeks ago reading up a frenzy. Every week in the lead up to the prize we will feature her review of each book, so watch this space! Follow Angela on Twitter 

The 2016 Stella Prize Shortlist

Stella shortlist






  • Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight (Random House)
  • Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe)
  • A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower (Text)
  • The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury)
  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
  • Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright (Giramondo)


Children’s Book Council of Australia – 2015 Book of the Year Winners & Honour Books

Children’s Book Council of Australia – 2015 Book of the Year Winners & Honour Books

The winners have been announced for the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2015!

Congratulations to all the talented Australian authors and illustrators.  For the full shortlist click here to read.

Winner: Book of the Year Older Readers

The Protected by Claire Zorn (University of Queensland Press)

(Read my review HERE)

Read More Read More

Book Review: Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu

Book Review: Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu

  • Title: Figgy in the World
  • Author: Tamsin Janu
  • Category: Children’s Fiction
  • Publisher: Omnibus/Scholastic Australia 2014
  • Awards: Joint Winner NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Joint Winner: Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Fiction. Shortlisted for the Readings Children’s Book Prize and the CBCA Awards in the Younger Readers category.

Summary: Figgy has two problems. One is her name. Nobody in Ghana has that name. The other is that her grandmother is ill and needs special medicine. Figgy can’t do much about her name, but she can do something for Grandma Ama. She will go to America and bring back the medicine, and Kwame, her special goat, will go with her. Out in the wide world she will meet some bad people, but she will also find good friends.

Review: Tamsin Janu was inspired to write fiction for children after living for three months in Ghana, West Africa and working at a school and orphanage. In reading this novel I could really feel that experience coming through in the story.

The voice of Figgy captured me from page 1. She was a delightful character to read with such an innocent and wonderfully fresh outlook on the world. Figgy, who is the only Figgy in her village in Ghana, or the World she thinks, heads off with her beloved goat Kwame to make her way to the United States of America for medicine for her Grandma Ama. It doesn’t even occur to her that she can’t do it. Figgy wants to go to the United States to help her Grandma – so she sets out to do it! Simple! Children have such a straight forward thought process – one that I wish as an adult I could have kept hold of as I got older – but generally it leaves us all, or most of us anyway.

What a brave, resilient and observant little girl is Figgy, and although there are a few moments in the book where I thought some of the help that came along was extremely fortuitous, it didn’t take away from the story, or the wonderful voice of Figgy.

In Figgy’s incredible search for medicine for Grandma Ama, she faces many ordeals, both good and bad, meets new friends, including the resilient Nana, a boy she meets along the way, and learns about the ways of the World outside her village. Their adventures on their way to the ‘United Stilts of America’ as Nana puts it, is sometimes funny, often sad, and highly entertaining. This would be a great read for kids from 8 or 9 up, or to read out aloud to a class, or to your kids at home. And in a world of technology and excess, it shows us what is really important when it comes down to it, our family and friends, our health, shelter, food & water, but most of all love.

Congratulations to Tamsin on her joint win for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Fiction and good luck for the 2015 CBCA’s Younger Readers category.

Buy this book: Booktopia, Bookworld, Boomerang Books, or download from Apple iBooks or Amazon.

Read all Welcome To My Library Book Reviews HERE

Bio: I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I studied law and international and global studies at the University of Sydney, and since January 2014 have worked as a youth worker in a remote community in the Northern Territory Central Desert.

I am inspired to write by the things I have seen and experienced. My first children’s novel, Figgy in the World, was born from memories of my three-month stay in Ghana, West Africa in 2009. It follows a little Ghanaian girl named Figgy and her goat Kwame on a mission to find the medicine that will make Figgy’s Grandma Ama well again. Many of the locations I visited and Ghanaian kids I met are depicted in my novel.

Visit Tamsin’s website: or like her on Facebook


aww-badge-2015This book has been read and reviewed for the 2015 Australian Women Writers challenge. To read more about the challenge see their website To read about why I joined click HERE.

Book Review: What Happens in Book Club… E1 (It’s not me: It’s you) by Robin Elizabeth

Book Review: What Happens in Book Club… E1 (It’s not me: It’s you) by Robin Elizabeth

Spotlight on Australian Women’s Fiction – What Happens in Book Club… Episode 1: (It’s not me: It’s you) by Robin Elizabeth.

Summary: Your book club reads books? That’s adorable, Gwyn’s book club drinks wine and rates the hunks from classic literature. Sure they were once a regular book club, full of feisty discussions about Proust, but that all changes after the most awkward book club meeting of their lives. When schoolteacher Gwyn’s generally conservative book club covers a popular novel of a more suggestive nature, Gwyn can’t help but think of all the literary hunks in a suggestive fashion.

Enjoy the delicious sunny Australian setting as Sydney schoolteacher Gwyn learns all about lust, love, friendship and herself. And always remember, what happens in book club, stays in book club.

Review: What Happens in Book ClubEpisode 1 ( It’s not me; It’s you) by Robin Elizabeth is the first of a five-part series about books, friendship and love – oh, and maybe some wine to go along with all that! I love the beginning of this book! My own book club also read a popular novel of a suggestive nature, Fifty Shades of Grey, and lets just say what happened after that discussion must also come under the heading of ‘what happens in book club… stays in book club‘ and in Gwyn’s book club – after reading Fifty Shades of Grey they decide to ‘cleanse their loins‘ by ‘reading a classic of some sort‘. Furthermore, a year of reading novels about strong women is suggested and in Episode 1 (It’s not me; It’s you) they begin with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.

I really enjoyed What Happens in Book Club… Robin Elizabeth’s sharp wit as she tells of heroine Gwyn’s unlucky love life is hilarious, and that mixed with the fact that the men Gwyn meets seem to resemble the leading men from her book club’s monthly read is just too funny. Who hasn’t wanted to see what it would be like to find a Mr Bingley? Or a Mr Rochester. Gwyn does, and with hilarious results. I also loved the dialogue between Gwyn and her friends, Mac and Selene. The interaction between the three ladies is very engaging, whether it is face to face, over a wine or two, a cocktail or a pint or three, in their daily 3.05pm online chat or their get togethers at the pub. Gwyn is a sharp, funny heroine who is looking for love in all the wrong places, or perhaps it’s finding her!

But who does Gwyn really want? The mysterious man from the very beginning of the book – the sexy silver fox who lingered at the bar after they discussed Fifty Shades of Grey, the man Gwyn calls Mr Grey.

I’m looking forward to reading What Happens in Book Club Episode 2 (I’m just not that into you) and can’t wait to see what sexy men emerge from the literary classics at their book club! I hope Mr Grey, the silver fox, turns up again for Gwyn’s sake! After her adventures with Mr Bingley and Mr Rochester I think she needs it!

Don’t forget to download Episode 1 absolutely FREE here: Apple iBooks / Google Play / Scribd / Barnes & Noble Nook / Kobo / Inktera / Oyster  / Also available on Amazon.

Buy What Happens in Book Club Episode 2 (I’m just not that into you) here: Amazon / Apple iBooks / Google Play / Scribd / Barnes & Noble Nook / Kobo / Inktera

Read all Welcome To My Library Book Reviews HERE


Author BioHi, I’m Robin. I do like getting caught in the rain but not as much as I like Pina Coladas. When I’m not soaking wet and drinking coconut flavoured rum mixed with pineapple cordial, out of a brown paper bag, I’m a mum to three gorgeous children, a little angel just turned four and my identical Prince Charmings just turned eighteen months.

I’m an English teacher by trade and enjoy teaching at an all boys high school when not on maternity leave. I’m assured by staff that the boys miss my sense of humour and wish me back soon, and I’m assured by the boys that I don’t have a sense of humour and my jokes are not very good. I love writing, particularly stories for and about women and have recently, filled with my own sense of self-importance, started passing on my expert parenting tips and how to be a mad cow tips on my blog. You’re welcome Earth.

Visit Robin Elizabeth at her website HERE

aww-badge-2015This book has been read and reviewed by Lisa Fletwood for WTML for the 2015 Australian Women Writers challenge. To read more about the challenge see their website

Book Review: Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

Book Review: Whiskey & Charlie by Annabel Smith

Following is another great book review by Angela Long!

  • Title: Whiskey & Charlie
  • Author: Annabel Smith
  • Category: Adult Fiction
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark 2015 (First published as Whiskey Charlie Foxtrot in 2012)
    Review by Angela Long for Welcome to my Library

Summary: Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond.

Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not – bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.

When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked…although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey’s actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be.

Review: Whiskey & Charlie – brothers, twins, and antagonists: identical and yet nothing alike. Their bonds tenuously strung across a lifetime of rivalry.

Annabel Smith explores the relationship between the brothers through the eyes of Charlie, the younger of the twins. Younger by minutes, Charlie lives in the shadow of Whiskey, believing he lives a life of seconds. Yet as the story develops, we see that Charlie’s perspective is not always reliable; the narrative is twisted and dented by his experiences and bias. He has lived his life as a victim and most of that sentiment stems from his relationship with his brother, a little taller, a little braver. Now as Whiskey lies in a coma, hanging on to the last threads of life, Charlie is forced to face the choices he has made in their relationship. Through a series of vignettes he looks back through life shaping events, and as the months drag by he begins to acknowledge his own shortcomings. The twist of irony is that Charlie believes he must learn to forgive Whiskey when in fact it is himself he needs to redeem.

The structure of the novel is based on the two-way alphabet – a common interest to the twins and their special language growing up. Each chapter name relates loosely to the content and the alphabet provides the thread that eventually holds the brothers together. Although cleverly constructed this felt a little contrived. The narrative didn’t suffer but it wasn’t added to by the chapter titles, and most of the time I barely registered their connection as I hungrily turned the page to see where the next section would take me.

Annabel Smith has crafted a novel that is unsentimental – Charlie is not a likeable character.  As this becomes more evident our empathy turns and lies alongside Whiskey as he silently hangs on to life. For me I wanted Charlie to ‘get it’ to see how his choices had affected him and his relationships with everyone close to him. My emotions were stirred; I felt angry for his long-suffering girlfriend Juliet and wanted to cheer when his best mate finally told ‘him it like it was’. Unable to give of himself, Charlie’s arrogance and pride are a mirror of the narcissism that he accuses Whiskey of. Charlie needs to change and although there are adjustments, he never undergoes a metamorphosis enough to be fully likeable. Interestingly it is this lack of change that gives Charlie his most human quality, the inability to be other than who you truly are. His edges have been honed but he would always be a little cynical, a little self-absorbed, a little bit Charlie. This is the success of the novel.

I stumbled upon Annabel on Twitter as she was launching her novel into the American market. After reading Whiskey & Charlie I look forward to reading more of her work.

Follow Angela Long on Twitter 

Buy this book: Source BooksBooktopia, Bookworld or download from iBooks or Amazon.

Read all Welcome To My Library Book Reviews HERE


Author Bio:I am the author of Whiskey & Charlie (published in Australia as Whisky Charlie Foxtrot) digital interactive novel/app The Ark, and A New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the West Australian Premier’s Book Awards. My short fiction and non-fiction has been published in iconic journals Southerly and Westerly, and I have been privileged to be selected as a writer-in-residence at Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and the Fellowship of Australian Writers. I have been an invited guest, as panellist and chair, at Melbourne Writers Festival, Perth Writers Festival and regional festivals in Albany and Margaret River. I hold a PhD in Writing from Edith Cowan University, am an Australia Council Creative Australia Fellow, and a member of the editorial board of Margaret River Press. I am currently working on Monkey See, an epic quest with a sci-fi twist featuring a monkey, an evil priestess and the mother of all tsunamis. 

Visit Annabel Smith at

aww-badge-2015This book has been read and reviewed by Angela Long for WTML for the 2015 Australian Women Writers challenge. To read more about the challenge see their website

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