Post Script: The Missing Hours -Emma Kavanagh

The Missing Hours

The Missing Hours

Emma Kavanagh

Cornerstone Digital

ISBN: 9781473535596




A woman disappears


One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.


A woman returns


Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.


What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?


‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’



My View:

Unique. Compelling. Surprising.


This book has just so much going for it! A wonderfully engaging character driven narrative, multiple points of views adding depth and perspectives to the narrative and to the main characters. What great characters there were! Everyone had something to offer or something they were holding back, some little piece of themselves and the mystery they didn’t want to let go of or share that when revealed kept changing the direction of the plot or the way you thought it was all going to work out. Each reveal just added more complexity to the mystery. Who was telling the truth? So many lies, half-truths or omissions.


This is a thoroughly enjoyable and mesmerising read. Unique – in so many ways; brother and sister police officers working two cases in the same precinct, the company the missing woman works for again is unusual – I haven’t come across this in crime fiction before though know of its existence in the work place (but I bet there will be more of this type of scenario in future reads), no spoilers here.   And the twists – relationships that will surprise, nothing is as it seems on the surface; family pictures on the mantle shelf displaying a version of the truth, a moment in time… a display….real or not? You work it out.

Post Script: Precious Things – Kelly Doust

Precious Things

Kelly Doust

Precious Things

Harper Collins

ISBN: 9781460750971



In the tradition of gloriously absorbing, lush and moving women’s fiction by authors such as Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley and Joanne Harris comes PRECIOUS THINGS.


Normandy, France, 1891: a young woman painstakingly sews an intricate beaded collar to her wedding dress, the night before her marriage to someone she barely knows. Yet Aimee longs for so much more …


Shanghai, 1926: dancing sensation and wild child Zephyr spies what looks like a beaded headpiece lying carelessly discarded on a ballroom floor. She takes it with her to Malaya where she sets her sights on a prize so out of reach that, in striving for it, she will jeopardise everything she holds dear …


PRECIOUS THINGS tells the story of a collar – a wonderful, glittering beaded piece – and its journey through the decades. It’s also the story of Maggie, an auctioneer living in modern-day London, who comes across the crumpled, neglected collar in a box of old junk, and sets out on an unexpected mission to discover more about its secret and elusive past.


Maggie has a journey of her own too. Juggling a demanding job, a clingy young child and a rebellious stepdaughter, and with her once-solid marriage foundering under the pressure of a busy life, Maggie has to find out the hard way that you can’t always get what you want… but sometimes, you’re lucky enough to get precisely what you need.


This is a wonderful, absorbing and moving novel about desire, marriage and family, telling the story about how we so often reach out for the sparkly, shiny things (and people) we desire, only to realise – in the nick of time – that the most precious things are the ones we’ve had with us all along.


My View:

This is a rather remarkable read.  It is subtle; the individual sub stories/chapters are personal and intimate and slowly draw you into to the overarching story – of Maggie’s life and her daily struggles juggling paid work, motherhood and relationships. I found Kelly Doust’s writing to be intelligent and her observations of relationships and family to be insightful and honest. The more I read of this novel the more invested I was in Maggie’s life, the more I found myself agreeing with her observations.


This was not the story I thought I would be reading – I admit to assuming that this would be a light and unassuming read – it was the opposite; intelligent, engaging, and brilliantly observational of women’s lives and rights at various points in history; all individual stories connected by their relationship to one piece of extraordinary cloth – very well plotted and visually stunning, intelligently written, 5 stars from me!


Post Script: Past The Shallows – Favell Parrett

Past The Shallows

Past the Shallows

Written by: Favel Parrett

Narrated by: David Wenham

Length: 4 hrs and 43 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 08/02/2016

Publisher: Hachette Australia Audio



Past the Shallows is the award-winning, best-selling debut novel from Favel Parrett about the bonds of brotherhood and the fragility of youth, narrated by David Wenham.


Everyone loves Harry. Everyone except his father.

Three brothers – Joe, Miles and Harry – are growing up on the remote south coast of Tasmania. The brothers’ lives are shaped by their father’s moods – like the ocean he fishes, he is wild and unpredictable. He is a bitter man warped by a devastating secret.


Miles tries his best to watch out for Harry, the youngest, but he can’t be there all the time. Often alone, Harry finds joy in the small treasures he discovers in shark eggs and cuttlefish bones. In a kelpie pup, a big mug of Milo and a secret friendship with a mysterious neighbour. But sometimes small treasures, or a brother’s love, are not enough.


Winner – The ABIA Award (Newcomer of the Year) 2012. Winner – The Dobbie Literary Award 2012. Shortlisted for The Miles Franklin Literary Award 2012. Shortlisted for The ABIA Award (Book of the Year) 2012. Shortlisted for The ABIA Award (Literary Book of the Year) 2012. Shortlisted for The ABA’s Bookseller’s Choice Award 2012. Shortlisted for The Indies Award (Debut Fiction) 2012.

©2011 Favel Parrett (P)2016 Hachette Australia Pty Ltd


My View:

The combination of Favell Parrett’s words and David Wenham’s narration equals a beautiful experience for the soul and the ears! I have listened to a few audio books but this one beats them all – the narrative is poignantly read, is often heartbreaking, honest, and brutal and real. The ending – is not pretty – but pays homage to the bonds of siblings forged strong and unbreakable by the explosive temperament of a bitter and twisted father.


A mystery is slowly revealed. As a past tragedy unravels another is created. A brilliant audio book!

I have now added Favell Parrett to my must read authors list. David Wenham is a narrator of some note!


Post Script: When We Were Alive – C J Fisher

When We Were Alive

When We Were Alive

CJ Fisher

Legend Press




When we first meet Bobby, he is a shy, twelve-year-old magician who falls in love with his best friend.


William is consumed with self-hate and drinks to escape the memories of his father’s sadness and his mother’s death.


Myles is writing letters to a mother he has never met.


Three different people from three different times each explore the dark side of relationships, search for beauty in sadness and try to bear the burden of guilt from living in a world we are powerless to fix.


My View:

I really struggled to continue with this book…the three individual stories seemed disconnected and not even particularly interesting until about 80% of the way through the book.  But I persevered.  I thought I understood where this was going…or rather where the stories were meeting but really I didn’t.  The ending was so sad.  I wondered why I continued with this, hopeful I suppose.


I enjoyed the story of the enduring love between Bobby and Rose.  The war narrative was painful and real.

William’s anger was understandable – his attempt to feel were interesting and reminded me of the lives of so many damaged children in care, self-harming in an attempt to feel something, to feel anything, to distract themselves from the realities of their lives.


But mostly these individual stories remained just that, I am at a loss to understand the overall picture. If you understand this book – perhaps you can share that knowledge with me.


Review: Poisonous – Allison Brennan



Allison Brennan

St. Martin’s Press

Minotaur Books

ISBN: 9781250066848



Romantic suspense bestseller Allison Brennan returns with her next riveting thriller featuring investigative reporter Max Revere.

Teen-aged Internet bully Ivy Lake fell off a cliff and few people cared … except her mentally-challenged eighteen-year-old step-brother, Tommy. He loved her in spite of her cruelty. He’s distraught and doesn’t understand why his blended family is falling apart. After a year, the police still have no answers: Ivy could have jumped, could have been pushed, or it could have been an accident. With too many suspects and not enough evidence, the investigation has grown cold.


Tommy thinks that if someone can figure out what happened to his step-sister, everything will go back to normal, so he writes to investigative reporter Maxine Revere. This isn’t the type of case Max normally takes on, but the heartbreak and simple honesty in Tommy’s letter pulls her in. She travels to Corte Madera, California, with her assistant David Kane and is at first pleased that the police are cooperative. But the more Max learns about Tommy and his dysfunctional family, the more she thinks she’s taken on an impossible task: this may be the one case she can’t solve.


If Ivy was murdered, it was exceptionally well-planned and that kind of killer could be hiding in plain sight … planning the next act of violence. Max believes the truth is always better than lies, that the truth is the only thing that matters to gain justice for victims and their families. But for the first time, she wonders if this time, the truth will kill.


My View:

This is the 3rd book in the Maxine Revere series, I have read the first and somehow managed to skip the second one and now have read this, the third; despite missing the middle book I had no trouble keeping up with the characters and the sub plot – involving  the characters personal struggles, etc.  Though I must say it sounds like there was a lot of action in the second book and I really want to catch up and read this at some point.


This episode tackles the very real and present issue of bullying, specifically online bullying.  The narrative is intriguing, engaging and I would say that the scales are weighted more on mystery than on romance in this episode. Delving into the personal lives of the victims and their circle of friends and relatives triggers some very introspective reflections by Max on her own life.  Romantic suspense or contemporary mystery with emotional awareness and intelligence ? You be the judge.



Zucchini, Feta & Asparagus Tart with Chia Pastry -In The Kitchen -Simmone Logue

In The Kitchen

Recipes and Images from Simmone Logue’s In the Kitchen [Murdoch Books] available now in all good bookstores and online for $39.99.”




Zucchini, Feta & Asparagus Tart with Chia Pastry


A lovely pretty green, this tart sings out springtime. Tiny chia seeds are such a great super food, so one day I thought I’d experiment by working some into the shortcrust pastry for this tart, and we all loved it.”


Serves 6–8

Preparation 40 minutes   Cooking 50 minutes



1 quantity Sour cream pastry (Toolbox, page 34), with 3 tablespoons chia seeds added to the flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, pale part only, chopped

1 zucchini, about 150 g (51⁄2 oz), grated

2 tablespoons chopped mint

2 tablespoons chopped chives

6 free-range eggs

200 ml (7 fl oz) thin (pouring/whipping) cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed

100 g (31⁄2 oz/1 cup) grated gruyère cheese

100 g (31⁄2 oz/2⁄3 cup) crumbled feta cheese



Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).


On a lightly floured workbench, roll out the pastry to about 8 mm (3⁄8 inch) thick. Press into a 23 cm (9 inch) loose-based fluted flan (tart) tin and trim the edges. Rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.


Line the tart shell with a sheet of baking paper, then fill with baking beads or uncooked rice or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and beads, then bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Remove the tart shell from the oven; reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F).


While the pastry is blind baking, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Sauté the leek over medium heat for 5–10 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.


Spread the cooled leek over the blind-baked tart shell. Squeeze as much water out of the grated zucchini as possible, then arrange on top of the leek. Sprinkle with the mint and chives.


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tart. Lay the asparagus spears on top, then sprinkle with the gruyère and feta.


Bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is cooked in the centre and the pastry is golden. This tart is lovely served warm, but is wonderful cold as well — great to take to a picnic.


Zucchini feta and asparagus tart

Sour cream pastry

Makes 575 g (1 lb 4 oz)

Preparation 10 minutes + 50 minutes resting



150 g (51⁄2 oz) chilled salted butter

300 g (101⁄2 oz/2 cups) plain
(all-purpose) flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

125 g (41⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) sour cream



Chop the chilled butter into chunks, then place in a food processor with the flour. Pulse until the butter is the size of cherries. Add the sour cream and pulse again, until just incorporated.


Turn out onto a cool, floured surface and form the dough into a rectangle. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.


Roll out to the shape and thickness directed in your recipe, then press into your pie or tart tin. Trim the pastry edges, then rest in the fridge again for 30 minutes, before baking and filling according to your recipe instructions.


TIP: The pastry can be wrapped up and frozen for up to 3 months; simply thaw it in the fridge for a day or overnight before using.

French toast with Passionfruit Curd and Rose Petals: In the Kitchen -Simmone Logue

In The Kitchen

Recipes and Images from Simmone Logue’s In the Kitchen [Murdoch Books] available now in all good bookstores and online for $39.99.”

French Toast with Passionfruit Curd & Rose Petals


Serves 4
Preparation 20 minutes  

Cooking 10 minutes


Not just one of the prettiest breakfast dishes ever, this French toast is also lusciously delicious and an ingenious way to use up left-over sourdough. Putting slightly stale bread to such exquisite use always gives me a good feeling, and my customers love it too. Instead of the passionfruit curd, you could drizzle the toasts with maple syrup and top with a scattering of blueberries or sliced banana.”

French toast sml

4 free-range eggs

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thin (pouring/whipping) cream

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

pulp of 2 passionfruit

125 ml (4 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) Lemon curd (Toolbox, page 44)

8 thick slices Sourdough bread about 4 cm (11⁄2 inches) thick

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 tablespoons butter

unsprayed rose petals, to garnish (optional)


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and vanilla. On a large plate, mix together the caster sugar and cinnamon.


Gently fold the passionfruit pulp into the lemon curd. Cut each slice of bread into two pieces.


Place a large frying pan over high heat. Add half the vegetable oil and half the butter and warm until the butter starts to foam. Turn the heat down to medium.


Dip half the bread slices in the egg custard mixture and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn the slices over and cook the other side. Drain on paper towel, then toss the slices in the cinnamon sugar.


Clean out the pan and repeat with the remaining oil, butter, custard and bread. Meanwhile, heat four plates.


Stack four pieces of toast on each plate. Spoon the passionfruit curd over the top, scatter with rose petals, if using, and enjoy straightaway.



Lemon curd


Makes 1 x 500 ml (16 oz) jar

Preparation 10 minutes

Cooking 15 minutes



250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter

zest of 2 lemons, plus the juice of 3 lemons

3 large free-range egg yolks

190 g (63⁄4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar



Put the butter and lemon zest in a heavy-based saucepan and place over medium heat.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.


When the butter has melted, add the egg yolk mixture and lemon juice, then whisk constantly over medium heat until the curd thickens. This will take about 10 minutes.


Leave to cool, then ladle into a sterilised jar and seal. The curd will keep for at least 2 months in the fridge.