hehir_julius and the watchmakerIt’s 1837 in London and Julius Higgins lives a quiet life, trying to fly under the radar of the bigger boys at school and helping in his grandfather’s book store at home. On the day that he fails at the former, unexpected salvation is found at the latter. An unusual customer, who has a preoccupation with finding the diary of a master watchmaker, scares the bullies off.

No one could have predicted the events that unfold from that – least of all Julius. Soon he is a thief, unwelcome in his home with nowhere else to go. In desperation, he turns to the shady stranger from the shop…

Julius and the Watchmaker draws you in from the first page. It shows the seedy underbelly of 19th Century England complete with violent gangs of street urchins, thieves, and kidnappers. The language is kept in the vein of its time as well, without slowing the pace of the novel.

While Julius and the Watchmaker lacks the unhurried pace of 19th Century texts, it captures the essence of the era beautifully. As a bonus, the era doesn’t seem forced. It’s evident that a huge amount of research went into the time period; but that research is used to make the setting authentic, not to bog the novel down.

It’s obvious that Hehir is a huge history buff and there are some nods to major historical figures in Julius and the Watchmaker. For the most part this is a really lovely introduction into literary, philosophical, and scientific individuals of the past. However, the fact that most of these people are lauded as even greater than they were in life while the only female historical figure mentioned, Mary Shelley, is reduced to a plagiarist, is deeply problematic. More so considering a long history of women writers and writing being discredited or accredited to the men around them.

The world-building of Julius and the Watchmaker is vividly entertaining. It’s massive on action and adventure, but maintains a grip on the technicalities so that the storyline always makes sense. And there’s a lot to make sense of. Julius and the Watchmaker spans various time periods, countries, and even parallel worlds. It takes a talented writer to work this degree of detail into a novel without the prose descending into info-dump territory; but Hehir manages, seemingly, with ease.

Julius and the Watchmaker is an imaginative adventure that drags you away from real life completely. It’s aimed at a slightly younger age-group: more middle-grade than YA, but is interesting enough that it shouldn’t deter anyone who likes a good adventure story. It’s a lot of fun to lose yourself in for a few hours.


Julius and the Watchmaker – Tim Hehir

Text Publishing (May 22, 2013)

ISBN: 9781922079732

shirivington_disruptionJessica Shirvington has a way with her female leading ladies. They’re strong and they stand on their own two feet. The character, Maggie Stevens, sets the bar just that little bit higher.

Everyone seems to be obsessed these days with those watch devices that tell you how many calories you’ve consumed or burnt off while taking however-many steps–and your heart rate etcetera.   What if they could also tell you who your perfect match was? The person you would live the most fulfilled and happy life with: your soul mate.

 Sounds great right? Yeah, not so much because, as an added extra, the company can also tell if you’re a security risk; they know where you are through GPS, and they can read your mood all through this little watch-like device that has now become compulsory.

Imagine the power that corporation now has over the populace!

Maggie is trying to find her father who was taken away by M-Corp because of a negative reading on his M-band. She’s willing to do anything, use anyone, and crush giants to get what she wants.  What will she do with the son of M-Corp’s head honcho? How far is she willing to go to keep her promise?

I felt more than a little unnerved by how close this fictional device is heading to the reality of today. With social media booming and the illusion of privacy becoming more of an issue, this book isn’t that much of a stretch.

Sometimes, I think Maggie goes a little too far, but she still feels the backlash of choices that weigh on her moral compass. I like her prickly relationship with Gus, her go-to guy. It all feels like a leg with pins and needles, but it’s worth the tingles to get to the great storytelling.

This is nothing like the Violet Eden Chapters, and yet it is equally as gripping and has almost double the action.

I read along with the Bolinda Audio book read by Hannah Norris, and it was almost impossible to hit pause and put the book down to go get work done.

The next book in the series, Corruption, is due out on October 20th. I have no doubt it is going to blow us away all over again.



Paperback, 400 pages

Published April 1st 2014 by HarperCollins (first published April 1st 2013)

ISBN 0732296285 (ISBN13: 9780732296285)


SONY DSCGoing on a job hunt part 3

The hardest thing I’m finding about being on the job hunt is the amount of time that seems to be passing me by and the imbalance between effort put in and the level of results.

Here are a few things I’ve been doing to try and put that balance back into… well, balance.

#1 Volunteering. At my first sign of being down and out about being unemployed, I sought out a way for me to gain perspective on life. Seek.com.au has a volunteering section and though it may not be a paid position, you can still put it on your resume.

#2 Do a free online course. I signed up to the Write 101x course that everyone’s been buzzing about. I want to improve myself, and employers are big on correct grammar and spelling. It keeps my brain active, makes me accountable on time management with assessments and such, and it keeps me being social. It’s a winner on all counts.

#3 Watch inspirational clips on youtube. Now I’m sure I’ve thrown a few cute cat videos into the mix here, but what I’m aiming for is to give my mind something positive to gnaw on. Watch something with a useful takeaway message. Something like Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk about how your body language shapes who you are.

#4 Be sure to get up and get moving every day. Treat the job hunt like a job in itself. Get out of bed at a time when you would for the jobs you’re applying for. Shower, dress, teeth and hair etc, before sitting down for another period of time spent applying for jobs. This will not only get you in the right mindset, but help with keeping your complexion clear.

#5 Get sleep. You may be tempted to stay up until all hours of the night simply because you can, but it’s not going to do you any favours in the long run. Sleep deprivation changes your brain’s chemistry and it can make it really difficult to stay positive. Go to bed at a sensible time and endeavour to make 8 hours every night. That way you’ll be fresh faced and ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Read part one and two of Belinda’s job hunt.

I don’t have the recipe for this, but I had to share it with you anyway. It’s similar to Mandy’s famous chocolate box cake and was made for my friend Debbie’s daughter’s 21st b’day. I didn’t get to try it because it wasn’t gluten free but it looked amazing!


amy's 2

SONY DSC#6 Clothes maketh the man, or woman. Dress like you want the job, especially if you’re applying in person, or if you’re lucky enough to get an interview. First impressions last.

The easiest thing for women is a LBD (Little black dress) Keep the length of the skirt professional (near the knee) and add a black jacket to make the look more corporate. Minimal jewellery and natural make up. Use deodorant but not perfume.

Guys, you cannot go wrong with a nice pair of black or dark grey chinos, a freshly washed and ironed white or light blue collared shirt, and if you’re looking for a corporate job, add a matching jacket and tie.

Polished black shoes and an analogue watch work for both men and women.

*If you’re worried about being overdressed you can call ahead and ask what attire is appropriate for an interview.*

#7 A new thing I’d never heard of, but we’ll see if it makes a difference, is to undergo your own police check. They cost a bit, but if you can prove you’re employable, and save your next employer some money by doing the check yourself, it may have you head and shoulders above the other applicants. 

#8 Speaking of head and shoulders, haircuts, and manicures. Maybe not with nail polish for the guys but most of you could do with a shape and trim regardless. Girls stick to a French polish. Haircuts should be neat, tidy and professional looking. Guys keep the facial hair… you guessed it, neat and tidy.

#9 Be available, especially for retail positions. They want to know they can rely on you to turn up to work on time and not be fussy about the rostering process. Admittedly, this becomes complicated when trying to fit in school or university, but make an effort to be as flexible as you possibly can. Oh and don’t go planning six month tours of far off places if you’re seriously wanting a job. Employers aren’t likely to hire you if you’re going to be flitting off after a fortnight.

#10 Be their next employee. I’ve had the most response in my job search by solving a problem the company was experiencing and letting them know how to work around it. Sure, it’s a risk that by helping them someone else may take the job, but by using my initiative and all the tips above, as well as being a team player, who knows what could happen.

Cross fingers for me everyone. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Police check website (there are many others, and some cheaper, this is the one I used) 

How to tie a Windsor knot

How to polish your shoes




The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume 5th Edition

Kindle Edition, 304 pages

Published January 5th 2010 by Alpha



No-Nonsense Cover Letters

Published December 6th 2009 by Career Press, Incorporated

ISBN1601638167 (ISBN13: 9781601638168)



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