Review: Rough Diamond (Erica Jewell #1) – Kathryn Ledson

Rough Diamond

Erica Jewell #1

Kathryn Ledson

Pilyara Press

ASIN: B07L3Y6XHV

 

Description:

Funny, romantic and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s unforgettable Erica Jewell.

 

The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage has left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. So now this office worker’s goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy night.

Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. When he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be inverted.

And she’s absolutely right.

 

My View:

Fun, exciting, mysterious and oh so Australian – I love this read!

Kathryn Ledson has created a wonderful female protagonist, Erica Jewell and in this, the first book in the series, we are introduced to a set of main characters that face adversity head on. This is a thrilling, fast paced mystery that is tempered with humour and a hint of romance.

This series would make fantastic TV! The world is ready to meet Erica Jewell.

 

 

 

 

#MondayMunchies: Rumbledethumps – Pinch of Nom – Kate Alinson & Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and isavailable in all good bookstores.

 

Rumbledethumps

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 40 mins | 162 KCAL per serving

 

When we asked our fantastic taste testers to review this recipe, the most asked question was, ‘But … what is rumbledethumps?’ Mostly heard of ‘Up North’, it’s a Scottish version of the Irish colcannon, or the English bubble and squeak. Why is it called Rumbledethumps in this book? Because were northerners, of course!p.176

 

Weekly Indulgence

V F GF

Serves 4

 

400g medium potatoes, peeled and diced

200g swede, peeled and diced

Low-calorie cooking spray

½ small onion, thinly sliced

125g green or white cabbage, thinly slices

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium egg yolk

40g reduced-fat cheddar, grated

Cook the diced potato and swede in a pan of boiling salted water until soft, then drain and set aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6).

 

Spray a large frying pan with some low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and cabbage and cook for 3–4 minutes until they start to soften slightly, then add them to the cooked potato and swede and mash roughly with a fork or spoon. You want to leave it a bit chunky.

 

Season well with salt and pepper and stir in the egg yolk. Place in an overproof dish, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top, and cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and serve.

 

 

Review: When it all Went to Custard – Danielle Hawkins

When it All Went to Custard

Danielle Hawkins

HarperCollins

ISBN: 9781775541417

 

Description:

Odds of saving marriage – slim. Farming expertise – patchy. Chances that it’ll all be okay in the end – actually pretty good …

 

 

I wasn’t enjoying the afternoon of 23 February even before I learnt that my husband was having an affair …

 

The news of her husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to Jenny Reynolds, part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise and embarrassment, her first reaction is relief, not anguish. What really hurts is her children’s unhappiness at the break-up, and the growing realisation that, alone, she may lose the family farm.

 

This is the story of the year after Jenny’s old life falls apart; of family and farming, pet lambs and geriatric dogs, choko-bearing tenants and Springsteen-esque neighbours. And of just perhaps a second chance at happiness.

 

 

My View:

I cannot get enough of this authors writing! (I am still looking for a copy of Dinner at Rosie’s if anyone has a copy on their shelf somewhere).

 

Danielle Hawkins writes rural fiction with charm, wit, humour and engaging contemporary issues. Take a peek at the lives reflected here and you will see situations, landscapes (albeit New Zealand landscapes but they do translate well to Australian settings), and characters that remind you of places and people you know.

 

Danielle’s books always light up my day. More please.

 

 

Guest Review: Something in the Wine – Tricia Stringer

Something in the Wine

Tricia Stringer

Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd

ISBN: 9781489261502

Description:

A warm-hearted rural romance set among the scenic vineyards of the Margaret River from bestselling author Tricia Stringer, the authentic voice of Australian storytelling. Reserved high school teacher Keely Mitchell is more than ready for her holiday on the west coast of Australia, so when a medical emergency turns over all her plans and an intervention by a kind stranger finds her recovering in a Margaret River vineyard, she is at first downcast.

Keely had wanted to put recent traumatic events out of her mind, and recuperating alone in a stranger’s house won’t help that. But slowly the lovely food, spectacular wine and beautiful landscape of the area begin to work their spell. As Keely makes friends with the locals and adapts to the rhythms of the vintner’s year, she starts to feel part of the scenery too, particularly when her artwork and jewellery-making somehow find a home at Levallier Dell Wines.

But clouds are on the horizon in the shape of a warring father and son, interfering family friends and a rival in love. Keely didn’t mean to fall for anyone, but she can’t help her feelings for clever, passionate wine-maker Flynn Levallier. Sadly, it seems he only has eyes for the beautiful Kat, daughter of a rival wine-maker. Can what Keely feels be real? Or is it just something in the wine?

Brenda’s Review:

Keely Mitchell was looking forward to her holiday in WA; to following her dreams and going where she wanted. But the day of her arrival in Perth, she had an unexpected medical emergency and it was only luck that had her remembering the note with the phone number in her jeans pocket. Heading to Margaret River was the last thing she thought she’d be doing, but recuperation was paramount and her respite at Levallier Dell Wines seemed fortuitous.

As Keely slowly regained her strength, her discomfort at the situation in the face of the father and son who quite obviously didn’t see eye to eye was enough to make her want to leave. But gradually, the beauty of the vineyard; the wine and food; the friendliness of the locals – all made Keely realise she loved the area. But of course she couldn’t stay. Her sketches and jewellery making kept her occupied, but she wasn’t sure it was enough.

Would Keely leave Levallier Dell with just her memories to add to her holiday experiences? Or was there more, much more that she could experience?

Another fabulous read from the pen of Aussie author Tricia Stringer! I thoroughly enjoyed Something in the Wine, as I have all this author’s work. Her descriptions are so well painted, even though I’ve never been to the area, I could visualize it all. I could see the volatile and passionate neighbour Theo; the gossiping café owner; the frustrations of both father and son – all written in an easy-to-read way. An excellent novel which I have no trouble recommending. 5 stars

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

#MeatFreeMonday: Samosas – A Pinch of Nom – Kate Allinson & Kay Feathestone

When I first picked up this book and started flicking through the recipes to see what might catch my eye, I failed to notice “100 slimming home style recipes” noted on the front cover. The fact that these are calorie reduced meals did not detract me from exploring this book; the types of meals here are things I might make everyday – healthy home cooking choices. What a great book! I hope you find some, new favourites here too.

Pinch of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone is published by Bluebird, RRP $39.99 and is available in all good bookstores.

 

Samosas

Prep time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins | 151 KCAL per serving

 

Yes, you read correctly: samosas! Making a simple swap from pastry to tortilla wrap instantly brings down the calories. Filled with fresh ingredient, you’ll be reaching for these time and time again for fakeaway nights (served with our Super Simple Chicken Curry on page 58), or just as a snack.” p. 224

V F GF (use GF wraps)

Makes 6

 

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) dice

75g frozen peas

Low-calorie cooking spray

½ onion, diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp grated root ginger

Generous pinch of chilli powder

½ tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp garam masala

30g spinach

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt

3 low-calorie tortilla wraps, cut in half

1 egg, beaten

Fresh coriander, to serve (optional)

Cook the diced potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain. Cook the peas in boiling salted water and drain.

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan 180°C/gas mark 6) and line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper or baking parchment.

 

Spray a pan with some low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 – 4 minutes until softened but not browned, then add the spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the cooked potato and mash it slightly with a fork or the back of a spoon before adding the uncooked spinach, lemon juice and peas. Add a pinch of salt and stir.

 

Brush the edges of the halved wraps with the beaten egg. Fold each half into a cone shape and seal the edge, leaving the top open to add the filling.

 

Divide the filling equally between the wraps, being careful not to over-fill them. If you do, you will not be able to seal them properly.

 

Brush the open end of the wraps with some more beaten egg, leave for 30–40 seconds, until it becomes tacky, then press the edges together firmly. You can use a fork to do this, but be careful not to rip the wrap. Arrange the samosas on the tray.

 

Brush each samosa with plenty of beaten egg, make sure the edges are sealed, then place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

 

Remove from the oven and serve warm. You can also allow to cool, wrap in baking parchment and freeze for another day.

 

Review: Under the Midnight Sky – Anna Romer

Under the Midnight Sky

Anna Romer

Simon and Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925184457

 

Description:

Chilling secrets buried deep in wild bushland drive this thrilling new novel from bestseller Anna Romer

 

When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred twenty years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose.

 

But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Haunted by her own turbulent memories, Abby is desperate to learn the truth and enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer. At first resentful of Abby’s intrusion, Tom’s reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before.

 

As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room and discover its tragic history, they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.

 

But their quest has drawn out a killer, someone with a shocking secret who will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.

 

My View

I really enjoyed this darker, haunting, contemporary read from this author who never disappoints. On the surface this is a gritty mystery, dig a little deeper and you will find it is a contemporary exploration of the cycle of violence/trauma and how it can affect the individual and generations.  I loved how this theme was discussed via the dual time line incidents: mysteries in both generations.

Typical of Anna Romer there is her trade mark use of old documents (in this case a diary), an old building with a  Gothic charm- with secrets of its own, mystery and a little romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and I hope you will too.