I Just Have to Share

I have just finished reading a remarkable book –  I am in awe of the power of the writing here and I am having trouble doing justice to  my review of this author’s poignant work.  So until I work out how I can say what I feel about this book – believe me when I say – “You must read this.”

Between A Wolf and a Dog

Between a Wolf and a Dog

 Georgia Blain

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925321111

Wallcliffe House: The Garden Wanderer – Julie Kinney


The Garden Wanderer

Julie Kinney

The Garden Wanderer

Margaret River Press


Who doesn’t love a colourful display of roses? Wallcliffe House (pp 156 -163). This historic house was burnt down during the Margaret River bush fires of  2011, however most of the gardens survived.

 Wallcliffe House

This image courtesy of Margaret River Press and Chris Gurney, photographer.



Wallcliffe House: The Garden Wanderer – Julie Kinney

The Garden Wanderer

Julie Kinney

The Garden Wanderer

Margaret River Press

I love the spectacular colour in this shot – this is one of the many  images of “DownSouth” (ps 76-83 ) – this garden is full of aloes, succulents, cacti…the range and colours are amazing.  (photo courtesy Margaret River Press and Freedom Garvey)

Garden - DownSouth

Post Script: The Garden Wanderer – Julie Kinney

The Garden Wanderer

The Garden Wanderer

Julie Kinney

 Freedom Garvey-Warr (Photographer), Chris Gurney (Photographer)

Margaret River Press

ISBN: 9780994316752



Take an armchair ride with around a small corner of Australia’s south-west and discover some hidden treasures in gardens of the region. Margaret River local Julie Kinney selected an eclectic 20 gardens to mark her 20 years in the region. She says, ‘there are so many wonderful gardens out there, some documented, some not, but gardens are transient beings, people move on and the garden they leave behind changes.’


My View:

Congratulations all round; Julie Kinney has written a beautifully restorative and fascinating show case of twenty of the Margaret River regions superb gardens, Freedom Garvey-Warr and Chris Gurney have once again graced the pages of a Margaret River Press publication with style and colour, what a superb team effort!

If you would like a private “fly on the wall” tour of some of the varied and exotic landscapes in this area, knowledgeable tour guide/gardener Julie Kinney will show you the way, pick up a copy of “The Garden Wanderer,” you will not be disappointed.

This is a must read, must have, for every gardener or would be gardener, or day dreamer or tour guide or hotel, BnB or winery in the region (and a perfect gift to send to friends/colleagues anywhere). Share some Margaret River tranquillity and natural beauty, a restful  read.

I Bet This Makes It Into Your Next Book: Nicki Edwards – Guest Post

Welcome Nicki Edwards.

Nicki Edwards

It’s 6:45am and I’m in the staff room waiting for my shift to begin. Other nurses arrive. Some, like me, are morning people. Others grunt and mutter their greetings. They need coffee first. Someone asks about my latest book and a discussion ensues about who will be the inspiration for my next hero and heroine.


This morning I have been assigned two patients. There’s nothing difficult about either of them. Both are hemodynamically stable (their blood pressure, heart rate and temperature etc. are within normal limits) and both should go to the general surgical ward later that morning. This means I’ll get two post-op patients. A busy day.


My first patient is a man who had part of his bowel removed two weeks earlier. After a night in ICU he was discharged to the ward, developed sepsis and was readmitted to ICU via theatre. I looked after him when he was intubated but of course he doesn’t remember me. I stick my head in his room. He’s sound asleep and I don’t wake him. I tell the night duty nurse I know his history and she just gives me a quick update on his progress. Other than low blood pressure, he’s fine.


The other patient is buzzing, asking to pain relief. He had bilateral knee replacements and required an ICU stay for pain management. I introduce myself and take handover. While re-educating the patient about using his PCA – patient controlled analgesia – I check all the equipment is working and the alarms on the monitors are set correctly. I also check the IV fluids and the analgesia in the pump.


While moving around the room, I chat to the patient. I work in a big hospital but in our city there are only three degrees of separation and I often know my patients. If I don’t, I find that by asking a few questions, I can form a quick connection. My favourite question is: ‘What footy team do you barrack for?’ This always gets a patient talking.


I begin my assessment on the knee replacement man starting with questions to assess his pain level and conscious state. I check his pupils, and perform neurovascular obs. All normal. I check his circulatory system, checking temperature, blood pressure and heart rate among other things. His IV fluids run out and I find the order and hang up another flask. Then I listen to his chest. It’s quiet in the bases of his lungs and I remind him of the importance of deep breathing and coughing and the risk of pneumonia. I show him how to use the incentive spirometer to help expand his lungs.


I assess his abdomen. It is soft and there are bowel sounds. Good. His urine output via his catheter is low. It’s been borderline all night. I make a mental note to flag that with the doctors when they do the round.


I like to write my notes early, but a buzzer sounds and I check my other patient. He’s awake and his stoma bag has exploded. Everywhere. He’s mortified. On the plus side, at least his bowels are working, but I kick myself for not checking if it was full. Twenty minutes later he’s cleaned up and sitting out of bed. I’ve put fresh linen on his bed even though I expect he will go to the ward. I return to the other patient in time to record his 0800 observations.


There’s a commotion at the nurse’s desk. The internal medical emergency phone rang and I hadn’t even heard it. A ward nurse wants his patient reviewed by the ICU doctors. She’s barely conscious with an elevated respiratory rate, a low blood pressure and a temperature of 39.


I go back to my patients but keep an ear on the conversations at the desk. The doctors need to intubate the patient on the ward. I overhear something about a possible bleed on her brain and a discussion about tubing her then transferring her to a larger hospital. We don’t look after neuro patients. The nurse looking after the patient doesn’t have the qualifications to care for a ventilated patient and the patient is in a room not set up to take ICU patients. And ICU is full.


The nurse in charge asks if either of my patients are ready for the ward so they can bring the sick patient into the ICU. I decide the bowel surgery guy would be easier to move but when I go into his room he’s vomiting. I clean him up again and assist him back to bed. His blood pressure plummets and his legs crumple beneath him. I yell for help and colleagues rush in. The nurse in charge informs me I need to go to the ward to help the doctors tube the patient now!


I wash my hands, leave the mess behind and bolt out of ICU. It’s only 8:30am.


On the ward I find more chaos. A doctor is keeping the lady’s airway open delivering oxygen via a bag valve mask. One nurse is setting up the airway trolley for intubation. Another nurse rushes in and hands me syringes of propofol, fentanyl and midazolam – all drawn up, labelled and countersigned – before racing off to find IV pumps and poles. I check the drugs and lay to them to one side.


The tiny room is packed. One of the doctors is trying to put in an IV line. He’s had two unsuccessful attempts already. I try and miraculously hit the vein first go. I want to cheer, but don’t. My ED nursing experience comes in handy in ICU.


Outside, a crowd is gathering. The patient’s tearful sister is being looked after by two nurses and a pastoral care worker. Orderlies stand waiting to transfer the patient’s bed into ICU once she’s been intubated.


The ICU Consultant’s calm manner rubs off on all of us. We take a deep breath and exhale slowly. We run through checklists. Does everyone know what their role is? Yes.


Moments later the lady is sedated and a tube is passed down her throat and connected to the ventilator. I fiddle with the buttons to make sure she’s breathing properly while the doctors clean up. Within minutes the orderlies swoop and the bed, piled high with equipment, is wheeled into ICU.


While I’ve been gone, my colleagues have sent the man with the knee replacements to the ward, cleaned his room and taken over the care of my other patient without question or complaint. It’s all about teamwork.


My stomach growls and my head reminds me I needs caffeine. I check my watch – 9:15am.


The ICU Consultant looks at me and grins. “I’ll bet this makes it into your next book.”


He’s spot on.


Nicki Edwards is the author of The Peppercorn Project, published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $29.99

The Peppercorn Project

Post Script: The Peppercorn Project – Nicki Edwards

The Peppercorn Project

The Peppercorn Project

Nicki Edwards

Pan Macmillan Australia


ISBN: 9781760302306




One heartbroken woman. One bitter cop. One community to save them.


After the tragic death of her husband, single mum Isabelle Cassidy is bereft and broke. When she hears about The Peppercorn Project – a scheme that offers affordable rent in the tiny but vibrant town of Stony Creek – Issie sees it as her family’s best chance at a fresh start.



Newly single police officer Matt Robertson moved to Stony Creek to lick his wounds after a bitter divorce. Wanting only peace and quiet, Matt is against the Project, seeing it as a threat to the peace he’s found in the country town – until he meets Issie. Despite himself, Matt is drawn to the widow and feels inexplicably protective of her fragile family.



Just when Issie begins to imagine a future with Matt, an accident proves how far she has to go before she can move beyond her grief. But the citizens of Stony Creek won’t rest until they see these two broken souls find a new beginning, together.



Can Issie move beyond the pain of her past and entrust Matt with her family, and her heart?



A gorgeous rural romance for fans of Fiona McArthur, Rachael Johns and Fiona McCallum.



My View:

Sited in a rural Australian town, I loved the attitude of “paying it forward” with an opportunity for four families to get a second chance to improve their current lifestyle and circumstances and at the same time instil some lifesaving “new blood” into a rural community, there is plenty of scope for action and personal drama here. This the perfect “pick me up” read; when you need something optimistic, positive, charming and with an obligatory happy ending (and one of the most delicious male love interests around), you will not be disappointed in this read.


Take note- this is not a book of purely froth and bubble. Nicki Edwards tackles many contemporary social issues within these pages: diminishing populations of small towns and the repercussions for the community – in particular the depletion of services, the process of grief and healing, drug dealing (and in particular the infiltration of “Ice” into communities big and small)…and the importance of “second chances.”


An enjoyable contemporary Australian rural read!



Post Script: Cake Decorating Step By Step – Giovanna Torrico

Cake Decorating Step By Step

Cake Decorating Step By Step

Giovanna Torrico

Photography by Deirdre Rooney

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743366219



Whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, this book is designed to provide you with all the baking and decorating techniques you’ll need to become a confident and creative cake, cupcake and cookie maker.


Simple instructions for gorgeous cakes. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, this book is designed to provide you with all the baking and decorating techniques you’ll need to become a confident and creative cake, cupcake and cookie maker. With easy-to-follow recipes and advice about essential tools, experienced cake decorator Giovanna Torrico guides you through the planning and preparation stages, including baking and icing tips and how to layer and stack a cake. Using stylish designs and handcrafted edible flowers and animals, you can create personalised masterpieces for all occasions. Step-by-step photography enables you to follow the decorating techniques closely to achieve stunning results every time.



My View:

Have you ever wondered how professional cake makers manage to make their cakes look so desirable, so delicious, and so perfect? I have. I have felt in awe of some of the wonderful decorations and often wondered just how did they achieve such precise and colourful edible art?


I am not suggesting that I have instantly become a professional cake decorator but this step by step guide has removed some of the fear of failure and given me confidence to try some of the examples here.  And there are a range of techniques – from simple frostings and icings, to piping, decorating with sugar paste, using moulds and templates, layering, covering and stacking; there is a technique here for all levels of competency.


Giovanna Torrico also provides foundation recipes for your baking; biscuits (cookies) cupcakes, lemon and poppy seed, coffee cake, red velvet cake… and more. There are some beautiful layered cakes that will make prefect birthday cakes for a certain grandson J  I can’t wait to try them out.


Have you heard of edible glue? What a fantastic product to make decorating easy! And decorating moulds? Yes there are plenty of “tools” to help you achieve a professional finish to your cake decorating. I wish I knew of such things when I was courageously attempting to decorate my children birthday cakes.


With the ingredients to hand I have made a delicious coffee and walnut cake with coffee cream. Perfect for afternoon tea, this cake transported me back to a time when shopping in the city was not complete without  stopping at a particular Scandinavian pastry shop for coffee and a slice of mouth-watering cake; so adult! Do you have any special “cake memories”?


This book is truly inspiring and there are skills and techniques to suit all levels of decorating confidence.


Coffee and walnut cake

Coffee and walnut cake with coffee cream



Post Script: Punishment – Anne Holt


Punishment (Vik & Stubø #1)

 Anne Holt

Allen & Unwin


ISBN: 9781782398714



One afternoon after school, nine-year-old Emilie doesn’t come home. Her father finds the backpack from her late mother, that would never be abandoned willingly. A week later, a five-year-old boy goes missing. And then another child.


Meanwhile, Johanne Vik, a former FBI profiler with a troubled past and a difficult young daughter, tries to overturn a decades-old false murder conviction. Police Commissioner Stubo lost his wife and daughter, has only his grandson left, and needs to solve the case. Johanna resists helping until the bodies return to their homes with notes “You got what you deserved”.



My View:

What a fabulous read!  Chapter one and a child is abducted, immediately the heart quickens, the tension on the page is palpable, the tension I am feeling is sky high. Works of crime fiction where the victims are children are never an easy read – Anne Holt however has managed to write her victims (and their deaths) with a sensitivity that gave me permission to continue reading and to enjoy this well written narrative.



Well rounded characters, multiple viewpoints, historical crime and current mysteries, this book has it all.  The characters are flawed, yet ordinary everyday people.  Ordinary yet bewitching…you will want to know more about them, you will care for them and be concerned for their outcomes.  It is a testament to the high calibre of the writing when a reader cares for the individuals created in the mind of a writer and introduced to you by mere pen and ink.


I want to read more by this author, this is definitely a series I will follow.


Originally published in 2001 this narrative has lost nothing with the passage of time, in fact the theme of “male entitlement” is just as relevant today. An excellent read!


Post Script: An Affair with Danger – Robin Storey

An Affair With Danger

An Affair with Danger

Robin Storey

Robin Storey




‘The author knows how to blend romance, suspense and an appropriate amount of humor to keep me reading late into the night.’ BbReviews


When corporate lawyer Will McPherson is held up in an armed robbery, his life changes in ways he’d never dreamed of. He goes to court to give evidence and upon meeting the perpetrator’s girlfriend Frankie Slater, he is instantly smitten.


But feisty, straight-talking Frankie has her own problems, not least of which is her violent boyfriend Eddie.


And he soon becomes Will’s problem as well.


If you like your romance stories with a liberal dose of grit and suspense, you’ll love this short novel you can read in one sitting.


‘This book has intrigue, romance, humour and it was hard to put down once I started reading it.’ Jill Moffatt.


This book is available as an e-book or in print.




My View:

A little bit of this and a little bit of that makes for an entertaining read.  Robin Storey mixes romance, suspense and little bit of humour in this modern day story of boy meets girl from wrong side of the tracks.


Although only a short read, a lot of action and foreboding is packed into the 161 pages.  Domestic violence, addictions and song writing provide the backdrop to this love story, you just know it is not going to end well.   The ending…was dramatic and sad but I think I would have liked to have seen this section fleshed out a little more, it did not resonate with me – maybe because it felt a little rushed and I wanted a more optimistic outcome.


All in all an engaging read.

Post Scripts: Die of Shame – Mark Billingham

Die of Shame

Die of Shame

Mark Billingham

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown

ISBN:  9781408704844



From British thriller master Mark Billingham, a recent finalist for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library, Die of Shame is a chilling story of addiction, subterfuge, and murder.


Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of addiction. But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?




My View:

This is an interesting look at addictions, therapy, group dynamics and the odd murder – past and present.  I really enjoyed being fly on the wall of the therapy sessions and learning more about the main characters in the “Then” and “Now”  chapters. As you read you are fully aware that one of the group is a murderer – slowly hints and clues are gently dropped on the wayside but in this novel, the “who” isn’t such a mystery it is the “why”? And the why is very interesting indeed.


This book is touted as a standalone, Tom Thorne is only fleetingly mentioned, and the lead police investigators are DI Nicola Tanner and her assistant Dipak Chall. I did not warm to the character Nicola Tanner – I found her manner – on and off duty, to be rather severe and cold, lacking in personality/development.  Even though I was already aware of her from a previous read, very little was added to that knowledge.  Chall at least showed some sarcasm/wit/humour which made him a little more likeable. Luckily the characters of the therapy group were engaging and fleshed out and that became my focus in this read. Do you think this was a deliberate ploy to keep the attention on the suspects? Maybe…but I would still have liked to see the more personable side of Nicole Tanner.


An interesting psychological mystery.