Review: Something Like This – Karly Lane

Something Like This

Karly Lane

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760529253

RRP $29.99

 

Description:

A spellbinding new rural romance from the bestselling author of the Callahans of Stringybark Creek trilogy and Fool Me Once.

 

 

Jason Weaver just wants to be left alone. It was a tough transition from his army days to civilian life, and he’s looking forward to settling into a solitary life.

 

Tilly Hollis is working two jobs to save for her dream career: running an equine therapy program. Tilly loves her horses more than anything, and after losing her husband and business partner just a few years earlier, she’s determined to make it work on her own.

 

When Jason walks into the cafe where Tilly works, they’re immediately drawn to one another. But can they overcome their pasts to find a future together?

 

 

My View:

I have had a few very restless/sleepless nights recently and so the last time I found myself still awake past midnight a pick up my copy of Something Like This and settled in to read for an hour or so before I went back to bed and sleep, I hoped. This was a major mistake. 173 pages later I did not want to put this book down!  I looked at the clock – gone 3 (well to be honest – it was a bit later than that but I am not admitting to that) 😊  I sighed and decided I really had to try and get some sleep, so reluctantly I left the book on the table and went back to bed, yes I did get a few hours sleep.

 

I loved this read!  The main characters were so engaging, their back stories poignant and heartbreaking yet not melodramatic, their everyday life relatable with an appeal that connects to the reader – this is a fabulous character driven narrative. There is more to this narrative than rural romance; this is a multi-faceted exploration of loss, grief, families, second chances and courage, the everyday courage of getting up and facing each new day when you least feel like it. It’s about cancer, about the aftermath of war, about hope, faith and building trust…and therapy horses, set in the back drop of small rural town life.

 

 

PS – I am even quoted on the back of this book 🙂

 

Review: Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths 2 – Eddie Woo

Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths 2

Eddie Woo

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781760981976

RRP $19.99

 

Description:

A bumper book of maths fun stuffed with things to draw, puzzle, invent, order, unscramble, code, decode for kids aged 7+ years from Australia’s best known maths man. There’s magic in maths – if you know where to look…

 

 

AUTHOR Eddie:

Eddie Woo teaches mathematics at Cherrybrook Technology High School, Sydney. He has been teaching maths for more than ten years.

 

In 2012, Eddie started recording his lessons and uploading them to Youtube – creating ‘Wootube’. Since then, he has amassed a following of more than 1 million subscribers and his videos have been viewed more than 60 million times.

 

In 2018, Eddie was named Australia’s Local Hero of the Year and shortlisted as one of the top ten teachers in the world.

 

 

My View:
This is the perfect book for your school aged child to engage them with the fun world of maths – and yes maths can be fun.  There are puzzles, word hunts, games, colouring in, “spot the differences” to name just a few of the fun exercises here …I think some of these can be played with younger kids if they are supervised/assisted by an adult.  My grandson (4 ½ years) and I will enjoy playing “sprouts” pps 158- 160 – a game about connecting dots. Because maths is all about patterns, and our universe is extraordinarily patterned, you will find something  here that can interest everyone. I learned my art practice is about fractals, so much fun to be had they won’t even know it maths they are learning 😊

 

 

Thanks, Eddie, for a fabulous fun and entertaining book.  I am glad I have discovered you and your maths books, now to discover your YouTube videos.

 

PS – this will make a great Christmas present for someone you know.

#FridayFreebie : Trust – Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer

Trust

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760877415

RRP $32.99

 

Thanks to Allen and Unwin I have one copy of the fantastic read to give away ( Australian residents only) Simply comment with the name of the first book that Chris Hammer had published *hint it was back in 2010 https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/fiction/crime-mystery/Trust-Chris-Hammer-9781760877415 winner will be randomly selected  on the 30th of October 2020

Review: Trust – Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer

Trust

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760877415

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

He violated her past and haunts her present.

Now he’s threatening their future.

She breathes deeply, trying to quell the rising sense of panic. A detective came to her home, drugged her and kidnapped her. She tries to make sense of it, to imagine alternatives, but only one conclusion is possible: it’s her past come to claim her.

Martin Scarsden’s new life seems perfect, right up until the moment it’s shattered by a voicemail: a single scream, abruptly cut off, from his partner Mandaly Blonde.

Racing home, he finds an unconscious man sprawled on the floor and Mandy gone. Someone has abducted her. But who, and why?

So starts a twisting tale of intrigue and danger, as Martin probes the past of the woman he loves, a woman who has buried her former life so deep she has never mentioned it.

And for the first time, Mandy finds denial impossible, now the body of a mystery man has been discovered, a man whose name she doesn’t know, a man she was engaged to marry when he died. It’s time to face her demons once and for all; it’s time she learned how to trust.

Set in a Sydney riven with corruption and nepotism, privilege and power, Trust is the third riveting novel from award-winning and internationally acclaimed writer Chris Hammer.

 

My View:

 This is an exceptional read from Chris Hammer – in fact I think it is the best in the series. The words that springs to mind is “smooth, like a fine whiskey” does that sound corny? It’s what popped into my head after I finished reading this one – how this writer’s style has really grown, matured, developed, progressed…it has a complexity that engages and carries the read along for this exciting ride. The writing appears effortless, smooth, intense.

 

This is a fantastic end (?) to the original premise – we now have fully developed back stories and characters, mysteries, suspense, some sadness and a very satisfying resolution. What more could you want except another drop? Hope there is another in the pipe line Chris Hammer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Either Side of Midnight – Benjamin Stevenson

 either-side-of-midnight


Either Side of Midnight

Benjamin Stevenson

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780143795643

RRP$32.99

 

Description:

An electrifying thriller with a mind-bending premise: One million viewers witness a popular TV presenter commit suicide live on air – yet his twin brother is convinced it was murder.

 

How can it be murder when the victim pulled the trigger?

 

At 9.01 pm, TV presenter Sam Midford delivers the monologue for his popular current affairs show Mr Midnight. He seems nervous and the crew are convinced he’s about to propose to his girlfriend live on air.

 

Instead, he pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head.

 

Sam’s grief-stricken brother Harry is convinced his brother was murdered. But how can that be, when one million viewers witnessed Sam pull the trigger?

 

Only Jack Quick, a disgraced television producer in the last days of a prison sentence, is desperate enough to take Harry’s money to investigate.

 

But as Jack starts digging, he finds a mystery more complex than he first assumed. And if he’s not careful, he’ll find out first-hand that there’s more than one way to kill someone . . .

 

My View:

Brilliant!

 

Once more I am delighted by the back story – of the film making/tv making process – its so accurate 😊 But there is more to this read that the matter of how tv shows are made; there is a lot of depth to this narrative and the characters and surprising reveals that you will not so coming.

 

Bulimia takes a leading role in this edition; it was discussed in Greenlight but did not have a starring role as it does here. We really feel the daily struggles, the effect on daily life and on those around the afflicted. Its very eye opening.

 

This was a fast paced, compelling read.  The characters, good and bad are really fleshed out – I particularly liked how all had some redeeming feature, something that showed their humanity, no black and whites here, lots of shades of grey, just like life.  One paragraph really stood out for me, it is where a character gives some advice to Jack about dealing with loss, with grief and making peace …it really spoke to me.  (no spoilers here).

 

There is a shout out to social media responsibility/laws etc that flows like a current underneath the main storyline.  This too I thought was very enlightening and sad; how easily lives can be influenced and destroyed.

 

The overall message that I took from this – you don’t always know what is happening with someone from the surface, from the “face” they show to the world.  Ask that question – “Are you Ok?”

 

This is a great crime fiction read, it has so much depth. I look forward to the next book by this author.

 

Thai Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Cashews: Easy Gluten Free – Helen Tzouganatos

Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos

Published by Plum

RRP $39.99,

Photography by Jeremy Simons

 

SERVES 4–6 DF, GF, VG
Sweet potato is beautiful in soups because it has a thick, creamy texture when pureed and carries other
flavours well, particularly spices that balance its natural sweetness. If you love extra heat feel free to
increase the quantity of curry paste in this recipe; I keep mine fairly mild so it’s family friendly.” p 91

 

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tablespoons gluten-free Thai red curry paste
1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
3 cm cubes
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
750 ml (3 cups) gluten-free vegetable stock
125 ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
handful of chopped roasted cashews,

 

to serve

handful of coriander leaves, to serve

 

Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger, garlic and curry paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, tamari or coconut aminos and stock. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the potato has softened. Take the soup off the heat and stir in the coconut milk and lime juice.
Blitz with a hand-held blender or in a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Adjust the seasoning to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cashews and coriander.

NOTE
• Sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre, vitamins and beta-carotene,
a powerful antioxidant that gives orange fruits and vegetables their colour.

 

Review: Summerwater – Sarah Moss

I am going to go out on a limb here and say I have recently read THE  TWO BEST LITERARY/CONTEMPORARY READS OF THE YEAR…with a caveat that I can add more to this short list if I come across anything super exciting. 🙂

Covid 19 has certainly impacted on my reading habits and mood. I find myself shying away  (but not given up on) my favourite genre – crime fiction, in favour of more contemporary reads – dont ask me why?

In the last couple of weeks I have read Summerwater by Sarah Moss: and Betty by Tiffany McDaniels.

 

Summerwater

Sarah Moss

Picador

Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781529035452

RRP $32.99

Description:

Set in an isolated Scottish cabin park over the course of one rainy summer’s day, A DAY LIKE TODAY follows a group of holidaymakers and their growing curiosity about a disruptive foreign family staying at the site. As the residents become more closely entwined tension mounts between them, but no one can know what lies ahead as night falls. Sharp and devastating, Sarah Moss’s newest novel is the perfect follow up to her Women’s Prize longlisted GHOST WALL

 

My view:

SUPERB!       SUBLIME!!!    READ THIS BOOK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Betty – Tiffany McDaniel

**Best reads of 2020 Must reads of 2020**

Tiffany McDaniel who is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers, ever!

Betty
Tiffany McDaniel
W & N :
H
achette Australia
ISBN: 9781474617536

Description:

A stunning, lyrical coming-of-age novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians in which a young girl, with only the compass of her father’s imagination, must navigate racism, sexism, and the dark secrets that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

“A girl comes of age against the knife.”

So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in Arkansas in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty, racism, abuse, and violence–both from outside the family, and also, devastatingly, from within. After years on the road, searching in vain for a better life, the Carpenters return to their hometown of Breathed, Ohio, in northern Appalachia. There, they move into a sprawling wreck of a farmhouse that local legend says is cursed. The townsfolk decide the Carpenters are cursed, too: “My mother gave birth to eight of us,” Betty tells us in her frank, wry voice. “More than one would die for no good reason in the prizewinning years of their youth. Some blamed God for taking too few. Others accused the Devil of leaving too many.”

But Betty is resilient. Her father’s inventive stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination and even in the face of tragedy and death, her creativity is irrepressible. Against overwhelming odds, she may be the first member of her family to break the cycle of abuse and trauma–and escape.

 

My View:

I Love Tiffany McDaniel’s writing – I just want to grab a pen an underline or flag words to read again – and I never ever mark my books! Or read again. Just like her debut The Summer That Melted Everything – I love love love the writing, the emotions, the themes, the protagonists, the contemporary issues and that this writing is based on family history.   What a story! Grab the tissues there are so many poignant moments without being melodramatic – in fact melodrama is the opposite of how this book is written.

 

Let me share an example of the scintillating writing:

After dinner Old Woman Slipperwort went to bed. I fell asleep watching TV through the crawling ants and static. I woke a few hours later, needing to pee. I walked quietly toward her bedroom, hoping I could pass through to the bathroom.

Like the night before, I found her naked and sitting on the edge of her bed. Unaware I was there, she continued to massage her legs, their blue -green veins twisting beneath her skin.  I wasn’t as afraid seeing her body this second night. In the folds and creases, I saw her history. Her skin the diary of her soul. All the springs she had watched the flowers bloom. The summers she had stood before the moon and kissed its face. The autumns she had grown wiser. The winter that had frozen the initials of her name. Each wrinkle was a record of this and every hour, minute an second she had lived. The things she had asked God for. The things she had cursed the devil about. In the folds and creases I saw beauty.“p 294 ( The back story to this will make your heart break) I am tearing up revisiting this section. This writer can see into the souls of people and transform that vision in words on the page

 

READ THIS BOOK.

 

Like The Summer That Melted Everything I predict awards for Betty.

Simple Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake: Easy Gluten Free – Helen Tzouganatos

Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos

Published by Plum

RRP $39.99,

Photography by Jeremy Simons

 

This cake is so easy to make and so delicious – I think hazelnut meal is my new favourite ingredient. It was our daughters birthday, I made the cake and grandson decorated – with ALL the decorations.  It was delicious.

When I was growing up I loved smearing chocolate hazelnut spread on white bread as an afternoon treat.
Thankfully supermarkets now stock organic dairy-free chocolate hazelnut spreads that are much tastier
and cleaner than the leading brands. Hazelnut meal is fantastic for baking because it has a buttery, nutty
flavour and keeps cakes incredibly moist without the need for added fat. This cake is super quick to whip
up and the two-ingredient chocolate ganache couldn’t be easier.” p258

 

6 eggs
310 g (1 1/3 cups) caster sugar
330 g (3 cups) hazelnut meal (see Note)
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
pinch of sea salt flakes
chopped hazelnuts, to decorate

GANACHE
150 g (¾ cup) dairy-free chocolate
hazelnut spread
60 ml (¼ cup) coconut cream

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan-forced). Grease and line a 20 cm
round cake tin with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes or until
light and fluffy. Add the hazelnut meal, baking powder and salt and
mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes or until
a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for
10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate hazelnut spread and
coconut cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until
smooth and well combined.
Pour the ganache over the cooled cake. Using a spatula, spread it
right to the edge and smooth the surface, allowing a little ganache to
drizzle down the side of the cake. Decorate with chopped hazelnuts,
then cut into slices and serve. Leftover cake will keep in an airtight
container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

NOTE
• You can replace the hazelnut meal with almond meal if you like. It will
have a finer texture and a milder flavour but will be just as delicious.

#FridayFreebie : Easy Gluten Free – Helen Tzouganatos

Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos

Published by Plum

RRP $39.99,

Photography by Jeremy Simons

Description:

Discover how easy it is to cook delicious, gluten-free food for the whole family, every night of the week, with Helen Tzouganatos, host of the SBS Food series Loving Gluten Free.

Easy Gluten Free makes cooking for the family simple with more than 100 delicious recipes: enjoy favourites such as pizza, pasta and breads as well as soups, salads, hearty mains and desserts you won’t believe are gluten free!

Inside you’ll also find tips on what to keep in your pantry, on the different gluten-free flours and how to use them, as well as a guide to cooking different grains and seeds.

Recipes include: Easy Bowl & Spoon Gluten-Free Loaf; Leek & Mushroom Tart in Shortcrust Pastry; Cauliflower Pizza 3 Ways; Roasted Miso Pumpkin & Rocket Salad; Greek Horiatiki Salad; Hearty Chicken Drumstick & Vegetable Soup; Smashed Pea & Corn Fritters with Lime Avocado; Slow-cooked Beef Ragu Rigatoni; Best-ever Beef Lasagne; Crispy Salt & Pepper Squid; Sticky Pork Ribs with Tamari Honey Mustard Glaze; Molten Chocolate Puddings; Raw Mango Macadamia Cheesecake and many more.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Helen Tzouganatos is a television presenter, passionate home cook and recipe developer, specialising in delicious gluten-free food made from scratch. Helen’s gluten-free journey started 12 years ago when she was diagnosed with coeliac disease. She began sharing her passion for simple gluten-free food in 2015 via her blog, http://www.helentzouganatos.com, and today she hosts SBS television show Loving Gluten Free. Helen lives in Sydney with her husband, Spiro, and three children, Vasili, Sofia and Ruby.

 

**I have 5 copies of this amazing cook book to giveaway. To enter, comment  which recipe you would love to make if you had a copy of this book. (Entries open to Australian residents only)  Entries close 4/9/020 winners will be randomly selected **