Brenda Telford


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Smashwords book reviews by Brenda Telford

  • My Sister's Funeral (A Murder Mystery) on Feb. 13, 2012

    When James was 10 years old, his big sister Maria, disappeared. She vanished on the way home from school near Newcastle, NSW...she was with her girlfriends on the train, and after she had alighted at the station, no-one saw her again. Now, over thirty years later, Maria’s remains have been found near Broken Hill, and everything comes crashing back. James finds himself reliving all the trauma, the devastation and horror that occurred after Maria went missing, the breakdown of the family, the rapid growing up he had to do, having to prepare meals for himself, iron his own school shirts, all the things his mother would normally do, except she was distraught, and in no way capable of anything anymore. While James is organising Maria’s funeral, he revisits family members with whom he had lost contact over the years, trying to find some answers...he visits Maria’s girlfriends from her school days, looking to get more information. He also goes to his estranged father’s nursing home, but the anger is palpable. And all the while his Aunt Rose is there for him, having a meal now and then, helping James more than his mother ever did. The re-appearance of Allison, James’ ex wife, has him more confused than ever, as he needs to confront his past in a way that makes him very uncomfortable. And when they are all together at the funeral home, things come together in a way that will surprise and shock you..... This novel is a very well written murder mystery, with twists and turns throughout, until the sudden, unexpected ending! A very enjoyable quick read!
  • Water's Edge on July 03, 2012

    David Samuels is a retired EPA investigator, and has just settled into life away from his previous city dwelling, where the memories were too harsh, where he lost his lovely wife, Lisa to a car accident. David and his companion, Blackout, planned on doing some relaxing! But David received a call from his former employer, informing him that benzene had been found dumped in the river, and he needed David’s help to find the culprits. Blackout was able to sniff out chemicals, and it seemed an ideal partnership in catching the environmental criminals. Suddenly though, there seemed to be many more problems than David and Blackout could handle. With the help of Mac, an ex-policeman and David’s friend, they were discovering corruption in government, terrorism, and the dangers seemed to be escalating. Just as they were realizing they might be in over their heads, the investigation was shut down. But David and Mac, along with an environmentalist who was helping out, decided to keep checking things out…they had come too far to let it go now! As things got scarily worse, and the pollution of the water-ways escalated to more and different terrorism, the corruption was wide spread, and seemed to go back to one thing…money! This sinister environmental thriller was a different concept, but one that is certainly possible. I enjoyed Water’s Edge, and Blackout’s role in the novel, and hope to read more about Blackout, and his owner, David in the future.
  • Lifeboat on June 28, 2013

    Cassiel Carmichael was dragging herself up through the depths of depression, sure she would never be happy again. Five years previously she had lost her husband Mike and their four year old son Michael in a dreadful car crash. They were on their way home from the Adelaide show where they had had a wonderful day, but the weather was terrible, heavy rain and storms, but with only a short distance to go, Mike was sure he was fine to keep driving. When she woke in hospital, in unimaginable pain, little did she know her life would never be the same again. Cass spent most of her days working in Woolworths as a check-out chick, and most of her nights walking, trying to keep the nightmares at bay. So when she saw what she was positive was a UFO hovering above her, she was stunned, startled but excited. In the months that followed she tried to find out all she could about the phenomenon, and she met some like-minded people. Rhys and Graham were two and night after night they watched the sky, without success. But the night the UFO descended on them, the pain and heat in their bodies was intense; suddenly Rhys woke in an odd sort of room, strangers as his companions. The aliens who attended their needs did not speak, but communicated through thought processes. What had happened to them? Where were Cass and Graham? The aliens informed them that the people in the space ship had been rescued as massive disasters destroyed the earth. They would be taken to a new world where they could start again, rebuild their lives and regain their futures. But things don’t add up. What was happening? What was wrong? This book was amazing! I don’t usually like the whole alien/UFO/extra-terrestrial type of story, but this was so different! A wonderful concept, with a twist at the end which was so shocking! I loved the story, and would highly recommend it to all.
  • Sisters at Heart on May 21, 2014

    After the devastating loss of her sister Lily three years prior, then the divorce from her husband, Carrie decided on a fresh start – new beginnings were always good. Moving to Tarrin’s Bay with her young son, Carrie was feeling stressed and uncertain when she volunteered for the cake stall at Zac’s school – her cake making skills left a lot to be desired, but at least she was making an effort. “Hi I’m Deanna, call me Dee” was the first voice she heard; a friendly member of the cake stall, Dee immediately put Carrie at ease. As the cakes sold and the chatter continued, Carrie suddenly made a startling discovery. Was it coincidence or was it meant to be? It seemed that Tarrin’s Bay was living up to its title of The Town of New Beginnings… What a lovely, sweet short story! Aussie author Juliet Madison has certainly captured all the emotions in this one and even with it being quite short the satisfaction of a complete story is here! I have no hesitation in recommending this one. (I won this ecopy from the author)
  • The Stone Gate on Oct. 29, 2014

    Twins Kaya and Jack lived in a small Australian coastal town called Baytown; surrounded by Bay Beach to the east and a forest of thick trees and sandstone cliffs to the west they loved their home town. The night of the full moon when friends Jayden and Debbie along with Kaya and Jack ventured up to the High Plateau was like any other – it was a favourite haunt of the local teens, with the Stone Gate just a strange rock with an opening in the middle. But that night something very weird was happening; the moon seemed to be filling the stone gate with brightness… As Jack stepped forward to check it out, he grabbed Kaya’s hand; then after a blinding white flash and a strange roaring which filled their ears it was quiet again – what had happened? As they looked around everything seemed the same – the Stone Gate was still there in the clearing – but where were Debbie and Jayden? As they began to explore they realized that the countryside of their home was much the same, but very different. Where was the usual rubbish? Where was the graffiti which was always around? And where was Baytown? Kaya and Jack’s adventures while they tried to work out where they were and to find food to survive became stranger and more vivid. Their eventual meeting with Aboriginal leader Billy of the Dunjini tribe and subsequent events which continued were fascinating but surreal. But more was to follow. Would Kaya and Jack ever find their way back home? And what was happening to Kaya? What a brilliant book! I was caught up in the adventures of Kaya and Jack right from the very beginning – the imagination of Aussie author Mark Mann is fantastic. The incorporation of global warming in a fictional way and for a young adult audience is extremely well done and I also enjoyed the author’s notes at the end of the book. With full on action and pace that is electric, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending The Stone Gate highly, and will be watching for more from this author.
  • Eden, Noon on March 25, 2015

    The planet Zika where ten years previously Ristan Abel and a large group of humans from a decimated planet Earth had landed was controlled by a species called the Zikalic. The fear and terror that Ristan and his clan had lived through looked to have eased with events causing a tentative friendship with the Zikalic. But there had been much death and violence along the way – would this shaky peace continue? Could the humans build their new colony successfully in view of what had happened? As Ristan and the colony leaders made plans for their future, Ristan discovered, quite by accident, that there were a few rebels who planned a vicious mutiny. Their terrible plans would wreak havoc in the small colony; Ristan would need to act quickly. But he was disbelieved – his mind was fragile; he was dreaming were the common thoughts among his peers. So Ristan knew he had to act on his own to save his friends, both new and old. What could he do to avoid the bloodshed that they were headed for? His own deep fear was confronting enough, but he found the lack of trust by his friends to be one of his greatest enemies. Would the evil of some be the downfall of them all? I thoroughly enjoyed this second episode in the Eden series by Aussie author Archer Swift. The flow from the first book, Eden, Dawn into this one was flawless; the final chapter of this book an eerie look into the final book, Eden, Dusk. For anyone who enjoys SciFi, Dystopian and Young Adult fiction, you’re bound to enjoy this series, but I do recommend starting from the beginning to appreciate the character flow. Highly recommended. With thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.
  • Resort to Murder on June 14, 2017

    Maggie Olensky was a high school maths teacher and had a week’s vacation booked at a mountain resort in Maryland called Highview Inn. It had been recommended by a colleague and she was looking forward to a restful week by herself, instead of the usual time with her well-meaning family. She quickly became friendly with the vibrant Dyna while hitting a ball around the tennis court, both laughing at their style – or lack of it – and when Maggie lobbed a ball into the nearby woods, she set off to retrieve it. Imagine her horror when she came upon the body of a young woman, lying in the undergrowth and quite obviously dead. It also turned out that as well as being an employee of Highview, Maggie had also taught Lori in her class when she was younger. Maggie was devastated. And so began a few days of intrigue and danger; investigation and worry. Should Maggie leave as she’d been advised to? No – she needed to find the murderer to give Lori’s family peace of mind… Resort to Murder by Mary Ellen Hughes is the 1st in the Maggie Olensky series and I’ve had it on my kindle for over 5 years! I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie’s story and though I wish I’d read it earlier, I’m glad to have read it now. The mystery and intrigue was well done; Maggie is a great character, well-rounded and independent; determined but not silly. A great start to the series and hopefully it won’t take me as long to get to book two!! Highly recommended.