By coincidence the festival was on whilst we were staying in Esperance. I caught a session with two fabulous writers, Sarah Drummond and Fleur McDonald. A great talk.
Month: May 2021
Review: The Book Of Australian Trees – Inga Simpson
The Book of Australian Trees
Illustrations Alicia Rogerson
Lothian Children’s Books
Trees tell stories about places. Australia has some of the tallest, oldest, fattest and most unusual trees in the world. They have changed over thousands of years, adapting to this continent’s deserts, mountains, and coasts. Many have found clever ways of dealing with drought and fire.
Their leaves, flowers and seeds are food for birds, insects and mammals. Old trees have lots of hollows, which make good homes for possums, sugar gliders, birds and bees. But trees aren’t just important for other animals, we need them too. What trees breathe out, we breathe in. They are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystems.
When you first stand in a forest, the trees all seem the same. But if you look more closely, they are each a little different, like people. This book is a love song to Australian trees, from the red ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to the Queensland bottle tree.
This is such a beautifully illustrated book! Inga Simpson is a writer and tree lover – her passion for the natural world is evident in all she writes, fiction and non-fiction. Although this book is touted as a children’s read, I think this book is more than that; it is amazingly illustrated and any art lover will enjoy flicking though the pages, it is a great read for anyone interested in the natural world of Australian flora (although I would like to see this expanded to cover more varieties and more regions), this book would make a great gift to send to a relative overseas.
A delightful book.
Review: Sixteen Horses – Greg Buchanan
Pan Macmillan Australia
Sixteen horses dead. Each buried with a single eye facing the sun . . .
In the dying English seaside town of Ilmarsh, the heads of sixteen horses are found buried in circles, with only their eyes exposed to the light of the low winter sun. The local police call upon forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen to assist with this uniquely disturbing case.
In the weeks that follow, investigators uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in this community: disappearances, arson, and mutilations, all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself. And as the town panics, not everything in Ilmarsh is as it seems. . . Dark days follow, then Cooper finds herself working with local police detective Alec Nichols to uncover a frightening mystery.
A literary thriller from a stunning new talent, Sixteen Horses is about enduring guilt, trauma and punishment, set in a small seaside community the rest of the world has left behind.
WOW! What an incredible read!
I will start by saying what an incredible writer Greg Buchanan is.!! This debut work of crime fiction/mystery/evocative gothic type read is equally compelling and harrowing.
As I read, I felt a swell of emotions ricochet through my mind; I was equally mesmerised and repulsed through out this read. I was compelled to read this evocative, almost gothic in setting, and horrendous in crimes against animals and humanity, slow burn of a book. I was aghast, I was numb, I was fearful, I could not read more than a few chapters at a time, such was the toll on my emotions, but I kept reading, night after night, because… the writing is captivating.
Is this for you? Only you can decide. It is harrowing. It is brilliant. It is…memorable.
Review: The Nancys – R W R McDonald
R W R McDonald
Allen & Unwin
Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world – the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mums on a cruise.
Tippy is in love with her uncle’s old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whatever she wanted. She wants to be Nancy and is desperate to solve a real mystery. When her teacher’s body is found beside Riverstone’s only traffic light, Tippy’s moment has arrived. She and her minders form The Nancys, a secret amateur detective club.
But what starts as a bonding and sightseeing adventure quickly morphs into something far more dangerous. A wrongful arrest, a close call with the murderer, and an intervention from Tippy’s mum all conspire against The Nancys. But regardless of their own safety, and despite the constant distraction of questionable fashion choices in the town that style forgot, The Nancys know only they can stop the killer from striking again.
The Nancys is gripping and glorious, a heart-warming novel for anyone who’s ever felt they were on the outside looking in. At its heart it is about the family we make and how we must summon the courage to face the truth, no matter what the cost may be.
This book is …a little bit of everything. It is a murder/mystery. It is a story about family, love, life. It is humorous and yet the last three quarters of the book are exciting and page turning. It really is a bit of everything woven delicately or riotously (depending on where you are at with the read) into a story about loss and grief. Loss and grief and the importance of family would be my biggest take away form this read.
The main characters are colourfully drawn, I especially liked the voice of the child narrator Tippy Chan. What more can I say? It is well written, engaging and I can’t wait for the second book, Nancy Business to reach my doorstep.
It’s Opening Night!
“New Beginnings” has been installed at the HEART in Margaret River. Thirty six eclectic colourful works of art await your view.
Grilled Chicken, Mango & Avocado Salad: Food for the Soul – Lucy Lord
Grilled chicken, mango and avocado salad with cashews and chilli lime dressing
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
Pinch of chilli powder or cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Large handful of soft leafy greens, such as lamb’s lettuce and baby spinach
1 mango, peeled, stoned and sliced
1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
Handful of basil, roughly torn
30g cashews, roughly chopped
Lime wedges, to serve
FOR THE DRESSING
2 tbsp olive oil
Zest and juice of ½ lime
½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tbsp honey
Pinch of chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the grill to high and line a baking tray with foil.
2. In a mug or small jar, whisk the dressing ingredients
together with a fork.
3. Butterfly the chicken breasts in half lengthways and use your hands to rub the olive oil over each one. Place
on the baking tray and sprinkle over the garlic, chilli powder or cayenne pepper and salt, gently rubbing
the seasoning on to both sides of the breast. Grill the chicken for 4–5 minutes on each side, turning halfway,
until golden brown.
4. Meanwhile, assemble the salad leaves and top with the mango, avocado and basil.
5. Once the chicken is cooked, thinly slice into strips and add to the salad along with the cashews. Drizzle over
the dressing and serve with lime wedges.
• This salad is best enjoyed fresh but you can cook the chicken and make the dressing in advance and keep
in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days, just add the fresh fruits and assemble when
you’re ready to enjoy.
Recipes and images taken from Food for the Soul by Lucy Lord, published by HarperCollins.
Guest Review: Left You Dead – Peter James
Detective Superintendent Roy Grace investigates the case of a missing woman in Brighton in the seventeenth novel in Peter James’s bestselling series.
Is this Roy Grace’s most challenging case yet? A mystery that is leaving him totally confounded for the first time in his career.
Most Sundays, Niall and Eden Paternoster like to go for a drive and visit country houses. She likes to look at them, he likes to dream that one day . . .
However, most weeks they also end up bickering about something or other. This particular Sunday he wants to get back to catch the start of the French Grand Prix but she insists they stop somewhere to buy cat litter. Reluctantly, he pulls into the car park of a large supermarket and waits while she dashes in.
He waits. And waits. But Eden doesn’t come back out, she’s gone. When he gets home she’s not there either, and none of their friends or family have heard from her.
A few days later Niall is arrested on suspicion of her murder despite vigorously protesting his innocence. But as Roy Grace is called in to investigate the disappearance of Eden Paternoster, it soon transpires that nothing is as it seems . . .
Dr Pam Lynch’s View:
Left You Dead is book #17 in Peter James’s Roy Grace series, and I must admit I feel slightly conflicted after reading it.
I enjoyed it, I love Peter James’s writing and the entire series and yes, I’ll be waiting for #18. The series has developed over time to be as much about the main character as it is about the crime. We’ve followed Roy Grace through his ups and downs in the force, but we’ve also grown to know him as a man away from the job. Without giving too many spoilers away for those who may still be reading through the early novels, Roy has had his fair share of personal dramas.
Left You Dead is equal parts about the crime and about continuing Roy Grace’s story, and you can’t help but feel empathy towards him as he deals with a huge personal issue.
The crime itself is almost a minor storyline. And I’m afraid I do have issues with it. I picked up on one of the twists very early on and I’m still not sure if the reader was meant to pick up on it or if my detection skills are improving. The final twist was unexpected though.
Peter James’s books are some of the most accurate police procedurals on the market and this one is no different. At times though I did get the feeling he was going a bit far with the procedural details in this book, sometimes to the detriment of moving the story along.
All in all, a great read and yes, I would recommend it.
#MeatfreeMonday Asparagus, Pea and New Potato Frittata: Food for the Soul – Lucy Lord
Reclaim your time, your kitchen, and your tastebuds with over 80 delicious recipes to feed your soul!
Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour to spare, this gorgeous debut cookbook from Lucy Lord will reignite your love for cooking, help you get creative in the kitchen, and redefine your relationship with food.
Be it a two-minute-smoothie in the morning to get you going before work, or a thick slice of banana bread on a lazy weekend catch-up with friends, these recipes are simple but special.
Dig into this beautiful book and discover that happiness really is homemade.
With chapters including:
• It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day: Breakfasts and Brunches
• Dips and Dressings: Your new staples
• Say No to Shit Salads
• Mains: Winning combinations for any appetite
• In-Betweens and Afters
• Get Baked: Sweet and Savoury recipes to rival any artisan
• Smoothies and Cocktails
250g new potatoes, quartered
100g asparagus tips
150g frozen peas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
2 handfuls of spinach
80g Cheddar cheese, grated
Fresh herbs, such as parsley, mint or dill, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
2. Put the quartered potatoes into a saucepan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook
for 5 minutes until tender but still with some bite, then add the asparagus tips and peas and cook for 1 more
minute. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium–low heat and add the onion. Sauté until soft,
then add the garlic and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted.
4. Whisk the eggs, milk and half of the grated cheese in a large bowl. If you’re using an ovenproof frying pan –
with a metal handle – pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and make sure the vegetables are evenly
distributed. If not, transfer the cooked vegetables to a casserole dish and pour the egg mixture over.
5. Sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes. I like to put this under
a very hot grill for the last 2–3 minutes so it gets a nice bubbly crust. Remove from the oven or grill and
allow to cool before removing from the frying pan or dish and cutting into slices. Serve garnished with
• Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Food For the Soul- Banana Bread – Lucy Lord
I made this delicious banana bread this morning from a new cook book, Lucy Lord’s “Food for the Soul”. Delicious.
My Home Gallery
Today we started to hang a few of the paintings I have created in the last 12 months or so, organising my space so I can make my new exhibition pieces easily identifiable for when we collect up to hang at Margaret River HEART next week. I will fill one of our spare bedrooms with exhibition pieces and maybe put another hanging rail in the other bedroom. So much art, so little hanging space.
Apologies it seems like WordPress has an issue with the video. To check out the video head to my Instagram @carol.seeley.art of my art fb page @CarolSeeleyArt