#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: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida – Clarissa Goenawan

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781922310286

 

Description:

A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman.

Miwako Sumida is dead.

Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity — but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.

Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.

 

 

FROM THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Clarissa.

Thank you for picking up The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida.

I’m fascinated with the idea that often, we thought that we know a person really well, but actually, we don’t. How far would you go to uncover the truth? And what if the truth is more painful than the lies?

Those questions eventually led me to write The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida. It’s a story of how a young woman’s unexplained suicide shapes and transforms the lives of those she left behind. I usually describe the book as a literary mystery with elements of magical realism set in Japan, and a coming-of-age story masquerading as a murder mystery.

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is my second novel. The book has been five years in the making and I couldn’t be more proud. Just like my debut novel, Rainbirds, this book features a collection of my favourite things. You’ll find a second-hand bookstore with no signage, beloved classic books, a whimsical cat that resembles maneki-neko, delicious Japanese comfort food, convenience stores, melancholic rainy days, and amidst them, small, everyday moments that dazzle me. In a way, I’m turning them into words with the hope of capturing these precious memories forever.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. And if you do, I’d be grateful if you could share it with others.

 

Warm regards,

Clarissa Goenawan.

 

 

My View:

A compelling read.

At the heart this is book about secrets and friendships.  There is something about an unexpected death that leaves those in the circle of friends and relations seeking to understand, seeking answers, seeking clues as to the “why?”.  Goenawan tackles this subject delicately and quietly – I like the voice in this narrative. It is a sad story yet not morose. The back story is one …well that’s another secret and I won’t reveal that😊 But I will say it is very contemporary social issue that is sensitively illuminated and discussed.

 

To me this is a book in two parts. The before the trip the friends take to the village and the after. The “after” is a little mystical, or perhaps spiritual…depending on your outlook. Traditions and culture form the strength of the second part of the narrative and help resolve some areas of the story arc.

 

There is something about the quiet voice in this narrative that is so powerful and compelling. I did enjoy this read and hope you will too.

#FridayFreebie : Max – Alex Miller

#FridayFreebie : Max – Alex Miller

Max

Alex Miller

Allen & UNwin

ISBN: 9781760878160

RRP $29.99

Description:

An astonishing, moving tribute to Alex’s friend, Max Blatt, that is at once a meditation on memory itself, on friendship and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

‘Max tells of Alex Miller’s search — in turns fearful and elated — for the elusive past of Max Blatt, a man he loves, who loved him and who taught him that he must write with love. Miller discovers that he is also searching for a defining part of himself, formed by his relation to Max Blatt, but whose significance will remain obscure until he finds Max, complete, in his history. With Max, Miller the novelist has written a wonderful work of non-fiction, as fine as the best of his novels. Always a truth-seeker, he has rendered himself vulnerable, unprotected by the liberties permitted to fiction. Max is perhaps his most moving book, a poignant expression of piety, true to his mentor’s injunction to write with love.’ Raimond Gaita, award-winning author of Romulus, My Father

I began to see that whatever I might write about Max, discover about him, piece together with those old shards of memory, it would be his influence on the friendships of the living that would frame his story in the present.

According to your 1939 Gestapo file, you adopted the cover names Landau and Maxim. The name your mother and father gave you was Moses. We knew you as Max. You had worked in secret. From an early age you concealed yourself – like the grey box beetle in the final country of your exile, maturing on its journey out of sight beneath the bark of the tree.

You risked death every day. And when at last the struggle became hopeless, you escaped the hell and found a haven in China first, and then Australia, where you became one of those refugees who, in their final place of exile, chose not death but silence and obscurity.

Alex Miller followed the faint trail of Max Blatt’s early life for five years. Max’s story unfolded, slowly at first, from the Melbourne Holocaust Centre’s records then to Berlin’s Federal Archives. From Berlin, Miller travelled to Max’s old home town of Wroclaw in Poland. And finally in Israel with Max’s niece, Liat Shoham, and her brother Yossi Blatt, at Liat’s home in the moshav Shadmot Dvora in the Lower Galilee, the circle of friendship was closed and the mystery of Max’s legendary silence was unmasked.

Max is an astonishing and moving tribute to friendship, a meditation on memory itself, and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.

 ** Today I have 3 copies of this moving tribute to friendship. If you would like a chance to read this book by the remarkable Alex Miller  simple comment with a title of one of Alex Miler’s previous book.  Australians residents only. I will randomly select winners on 10/10/020   https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/other-books/Max-Alex-Miller-9781760878160  

 

Scribblers Festival – School Holiday Fun

 

Grab your FREE Scribblers Festival Fuelling Creativity Workbook brimming with inspiration and tips on how a healthy body can support your most creative mind! Hear from a lineup of creative stars that take you behind the scenes of their creative process in the corresponding Fuelling Creativity Video Series and get a free Reader’s Card which earns your family 10% at local book stores. Order your Workbook, check out the Videos, and learn how to win exciting prizes over at https://www.scribblersfestival.com.au/!

This is perfect holiday inspiration for the kids- we love the Lego challenge in our house 🙂 and there are great video’s by LEGO Masters Series 2 Winners – Jackson & Alex! on the website. Thanks Scribblers festival 2020.

@scribblersfest @healthwaywa

 

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.

 

Review: Grumbelina – Esther Krogdahl and Aleksandra Szmidt (illustrator)

Grumbelina

Esther Krogdahl

Aleksandra Szmidt (illustrator)

Hachette Children’s’ Books

ISBN: 9781869714291

RRP $16.99

 

Description:

Hazel Spratt was an agreeable child. Never impatient, unruly or wild. But when Hazel turns three-and-a-half, her parents notice a change. She is no longer their polite and pleasant daughter, Hazel, she is now Grumbelina, ‘a grumpy child, so disgruntled yet small, with a list of complaints that could cover a wall.’ Settle down and relax for a moment, this humorous and delightfully illustrated picture book takes a tongue-in-cheek look at tantrums – perfect for every home.

 

My View:

Grumbelina is a book that anyone who cares for young children, actually let’s reframe that – anyone who cares for any child/toddler, pre-schooler/teen will relate to this book😊

This book is a tongue in cheek look at the multiple personalities that make a complete child; happy, sad, engaging, enchanting… grumbly.  Those incredulous moments – when the peas touched the carrots on the plate, the cup was the wrong colour, you didn’t mind read the situation correctly, you should have known…you know the list 😊

 

Delightfully illustrated, a humorous exploration of childhood, this book is sure to put a smile on your and your toddlers face.

 

 

 

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.

 

#FridayFreebie – Bluebird – Malcolm Knox

Bluebird

Malcolm Knox

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760877422

RRP $32.99

 

 

Description:

‘If Winton is an aria, Knox is early Rolling Stones.’ The Guardian

A stunning new novel about longing, regret, redemption and the terrible legacy of decades of secrets buried in an Australian beachside suburb.

A house perched impossibly on a cliff overlooking the stunning, iconic Bluebird Beach. Prime real estate, yet somehow not real estate at all, The Lodge is, like those who live in it, falling apart.

Gordon Grimes has become the accidental keeper of this last relic of an endangered world. He lives in The Lodge with his wife Kelly who is trying to leave him, their son Ben who will do anything to save him, his goddaughter Lou who is hiding from her own troubles, and Leonie, the family matriarch who has trapped them here for their own good.

But Gordon has no money and is running out of time to conserve his homeland. His love for this way of life will drive him, and everyone around him, to increasingly desperate risks. In the end, what will it cost them to hang onto their past?

Acclaimed writer Malcolm Knox has written a classic Australian novel about the myths that come to define families and communities, and the lies that uphold them. It’s about a certain kind of Australia that we all recognise, and a certain kind of Australian whose currency is running out. Change is coming to Bluebird, whether they like it or not. And the secrets they’ve been keeping and the lies they’ve been telling can’t save them now.

Savage, funny, revelatory and brilliant, Bluebird exposes the hollowness of the stories told to glorify a dying culture and shows how those who seek to preserve these myths end up being crushed by them.

 

**If you would like to win a copy of Bluebird  by Malcolm Knox, in the comments tell me the title of any other book Knox has written https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/fiction/Bluebird-Malcolm-Knox-9781760877422   
entries open to Australian residents , I will conduct a random draw to select 3 winners on 11/9/020   thank you Allen & Unwin**

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.