Review: Christmas Tales – Willaim McInnes

William McInnes

Christmas Tales

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733644733

RRP $32.99


‘Tis the season to be jolly! One of Australia’s favourite storytellers is back with a collection of stories about everyone’s favourite family holiday.


I can’t help it if I’m a boring conservative dag, but I love Christmas, always have and hopefully always will. Whatever brand of faith you fly under, even if you proclaim you don’t have one, Christmas is a time of generosity, good citizenship and decency.

It’s the holiday where shopping centres become a sea of dazed shoppers bearing checklists as long as your arm, lunch is a never-ending buffet of prawns and ham and your electricity bill is doubly struck by having to run the fan all day and keep those decorative lights blinking through the night.

William McInnes, bestselling author of FATHERHOOD, WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA, and A MAN’S GOT TO HAVE A HOBBY tackles the silly season in a way only he can – telling stories brimming with good humour and nostalgia, to remind us what Christmas is all about: family.


My View:

One-part cheekiness, one-part fun and one-part memoir, this read is entertaining, hilarious, poignant at times and so relatable.

I really enjoy William McInnes writing style; a mix of witty storytelling (I do wish I could be one of your dinner guests one day, it would be so fun to hear you reminisce), stream of consciousness insights into the life, escapades and thoughts of this popular Australian actor and writer as he recounts Christmas past.


There is wonderful recounting of childhood innocence as Christmas is explored; the gift giving, the myths of Santa (in his many guises), family fun and rituals and then we are privileged to hear more anecdotes, more memories, sweet and bitter sweet.


William McInnes is a natural writer and I enjoy his “tell all” style and humour.

Gas Station Charcuterie Plate: You Suck At Cooking – You Suck At Cooking

My View:This book is hilarious and useful 🙂  And possibly will solve your search for “what to get the person who has everything” for Christmas. Check out the authors  Youtube cooking show here:



Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less

You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings.

You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeno Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).

In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*

*Results not guaranteed

Extract from You Suck at Cooking, photography by Andrew Thomas Lee,
published by Ebury Australia on 19 November 2019, RRP $29.99



Washer fluid
Gasoline of your choice
Pepperoni sticks
Beef jerky
Roasted almonds
Salted pistachios
Honey-roasted peanuts
Barbecue peanuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Dark chocolate
Any other interesting snacks
you can find at a gas station
1  Pop the hood of your car and locate translucent white tank with a water symbol
cap and close the hood.

2  Fill your gas tank with gas.

3 Go inside the store with actual money like it’s the old fashioned days. Locate any interesting snacks and purchase
them, and don’t forget to pay for,go home and wash the gasoline off your hands.

4  Cut the pepperoni sticks into bite-sized pieces. Cut them on an angle if you’re feeling extra fancy.

5 Arrange all the snacks on a plate, platter, or serving board in a way that makes sense, such as grouping nuts and meats together, or putting nuts and meats as far away as possible from each other. Serve, and never tell your date where the snacks came from.

*The Gas Station Charcuterie Plate is possible because we live in the golden age of mobile snacking. It is also bound to be a hit because of the human tendency to equate variety with quality. Which is not to say the foods at gas stations are of low quality. It’s just easy to take for granted the fact that you can get food, on a whim, at any time of the day or night, at these lonely fossil fuel outposts. In the future, a mobile rest stop subscription service will pull up beside you while you’re driving, refuel your car, give you snacks, and let you use the restroom, all at 105
kilometres per hour. And the fuel will be laser beams.


5 Star Books to Keep a Look Out For

I just wanted to share some recent 5 star book discoveries that I will be reviewing soon; some have recently been published, some will be published in the next month or so. Some are  by debut authors, some are  by favourites that never disappoint.  I highly recommend these – as I read each one I thought “this is the best book I have read this year,” and then I read THE NEXT AND THOUGHT THE SAME THING. Such talent.


The Lying Room

Nicci French

Simon and Schuster


Wearing Paper Dresses

Ann Brinsden

Mcmillan Australia




The Other Half of Augusta Hope

Joanna Glen

Harper Collins


Every Time He Dies

Tara East

Self Published

ISBN: 9780648581512

Author, Amy Andrews, Talks About “Limbo”

I had the virtual pleasure of meeting author Amy Andrews when she released her genre bending novel Limbo back in 2015.

In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real. I had visions of Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI as the male protagonist, the female lead – hmm, maybe a young tough version of Rachel Griffiths works for me I think. Fans of Kathryn Ledson’s Erica Jewell series will also love this read.


Limbo has been re branded, has a new cover that relates specifically to a character in the book  – you will love the new  look.


Click on the video to see what Amy has to share with us.


Buy Amy’s book here:

Post Script: Turbo Twenty-Three – Janet Evanovich


Turbo-Twenty Three

Janet Evanovich

Hachette Australia


ISBN: 9781472201690



Do you need a good Evanovich?


The unputdownable new adventure for Stephanie Plum in the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

My View:

As I read the Stephanie Plum sagas I am transported into a world of mad cap adventures, over the top situations, zany characters that I know and love and a heroine that is ditzy but always manages to come out on top. Part of the enjoyment facto when reading this series is you know to what to expect – a light, fun, entertaining, unpretentious read that is guaranteed to have laugh out loud moments, a fast paced plot, a few misadventures, a continuing love triangle situation and a bit of crime thrown in.


And that is what Janet Evanovich does best – she transports the reader to another place – where laughter and action go hand in hand, where the good guys always win. This is pure escapism. Enjoy.


Post Script: Lily And The Octopus – Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus

Lily And The Octopus

Steven Rowley

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471146640



Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.


When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.


The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.


For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.


Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one.




My View:

I laughed and laughed…then I cried and not just a little tear but torrents of sadness.


But don’t get me wrong this is largely an incredibly funny and intelligent read – the observations of life with dogs, searching for a soul mate, and Lily’s enthusiastic response to everything are sharp, hilarious, and often poignant; Lily and Ted do satire and sarcasm really well.


It is the banter, the dialogue between Lily and her human companion that is so engaging and cute; but there is a depth and wisdom in the conversations here. Scratch just below the surface (you don’t have to dig too far) and the cuteness is quickly revealed as a mask that tries to hide Ted’s loneliness, depression, his battle to come to terms with his best friends devastating diagnosis and the journey through grief to acceptance.


Does this sound like too much sharing and caring?  It actually isn’t – Lily is a bright foil to Ted’s darkness and despair (and a great device that enables the reader to understand Ted’s perspective on life).  The book is full of brilliant observations and it is a credit to the author that the reader cares so much for Lily and Ted.


The novel ends on a decidedly positive note, a great emotional read.  (Even the husband enjoyed it! High praise.)

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Kathryn Ledson

Grand Slam

Kathryn Ledson is  the author of three titles in the fun to read Erica Jewel mysteries. (In my opinion Grand Slam is just perfect – love the plotting, the characters, the fun), it made laugh out loud.

A Bit About Kathryn Ledson:

In 2005 Kathryn took a deep breath and left her 25+ year career in the corporate arena, returning to study with relief and a great sense of homecoming. What emerged from that professional writing and editing course was a huge surprise in the form of hapless heroine Erica Jewell, lead character in Kathryn’s series of funny, romantic, action-packed novels, which so far includes Rough Diamond, Monkey Business and the recently released Grand Slam.

Kathryn Ledson

Welcome to my blog Kathryn.


Let talk childhood. What aspirations did you have as a child?

To survive! No, really. I was the most terrified kid ever. My bedroom was at the end of a hallway, and that hallway seemed like a thousand miles from my parents and safety. I was convinced monsters lay in wait for me under the bed, in the cupboard. I’d dash from the doorway onto my bed so they couldn’t reach out and grab me. The idea of going to the toilet in the night filled my mind with the most unthinkable horrors. Apart from that, I wanted to be Anne from the Famous Five books. (More recently, Lara Croft.)


Who were your heroes?

Prince Charming, The Silver Brumby and Gilligan. More recent heroes? My husband Paul. And my Dad. Until the day he died, just a few months ago.


Let’s talk writing. How long has the road to becoming a successful writer been for you?

I’m not sure “successful” is the right word. I mean, the reason we can afford to eat is because my hubs works like a dog. But the road to getting from there to here has been relatively short, in fact (compared to other writers’ stories I’ve heard). There were some pot holes, however I think I’ve been very lucky. I reckon life throws at you only what you can handle, and if I’d had too many rejections, where others persist I would have given up long ago and gone to work at the local IGA. But I digress. I started writing Rough Diamond at the end of 2008 – having just completed a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing that included know how-to-write-a-novel classes – submitted it to Penguin in January 2011 and it was published two years later. I think they thought it was rubbish at first, but that the “voice” of Erica was fresh. My gorgeous editor took a chance she could coach me into producing something worth reading.

Do you have an agent? How did you get the attention of a publisher?

Yes, I do. Having an agent is very helpful in getting your manuscript before an editor. Mind you, getting an agent is sometimes more difficult than getting a publisher. That said, I managed to get a meeting with Penguin without help, having written a thoroughly proof-read (by writer friends) proposal, and between setting up the meeting and attending it, I signed with an agent. I think it was having that planned Penguin meeting that won me an agent, and it was in turn having an agent that got Rough Diamond over the line with Penguin. It’s all very tricky business, and helpful to know how things work. Networking is the most useful thing a budding author can do if they want to be traditionally published.


What do you love about writing- it is so obvious to me you love what you are doing.

I ADORE what I do and I laugh my head off all the time. Erica constantly surprises me. She comes up with these fabulous lines and just feeds them to me from God-knows-where. When writers talk about having a muse, I think Erica must be mine. I do hate to be interrupted when I’m writing and I’m furious with anyone or thing that stops me. For example, my need to eat, and hang out the washing. The toilet that must be cleaned because some rude person wants to visit. And this – at 4.30 every day, my dog Ella sits by the fridge and barks at me. I tell her, “Hold on, I’m writing a crucial scene. Erica’s got a gun to her head!” Ella will give me exactly 10 seconds to wind it up before she starts her very loud I-want-my-dinner nonsense. It’s very irritating (but she’s so cute).


Let’s talk books and influences. Who is your favourite author? Do you have a favourite book?

There are SOOOO many authors and books I love it’s almost impossible to pick just one. But I’ll say that when I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, I was moved by that story and her writing in a way that I’ve never been before or since. I then read Atlas Shrugged, which had the same effect on me. Although I later researched Ayn Rand and discovered I didn’t like her much, which was disappointing.


Let’s talk about life. What lessons did you learn from working in the corporate world?

I learned not to work in the corporate world. I’d rather clean toilets. Maybe not that. But I’d definitely weed gardens instead. The pressure on corporate people to perform is so intense, I’m sure if I’d stayed I would have developed some horrible stress-induced disease and dropped dead by now.


Let’s talk about the characters in your Erica Jewel series? Who inspired Erica?

My sister says Erica is me, then she turns to someone and says she finds Erica annoying in the way Jeannie from I-Dream-of-Jeannie was annoying. What does this say? Anyway, what I say is that while I was trying to get on with a new career as an editor or some form of non-fiction writer, Erica tapped me on the shoulder and demanded a life. I say that Erica is her own person and I have no idea where she came from. Erica is NOT me. She’s not. *pout*


Who inspired Jack?

No-one inspired Jack Jones. He’s perfect, which of course doesn’t exist. Oh, we could choose some AFL footballer’s body and say that’s Jack’s. And we could find a pic of a younger Hugh Jackman (photo-shopped, airbrushed and all the works) and say that’s his face. Who’s got the best manners and the most money and the greatest integrity and the kind of patience one needs to tolerate Erica’s mother? No-one apart from Jack Jones. He’s a fantasy character, don’t you think? (My husband was the inspiration behind Erica’s friend, Steve.)



Lets’ talk about dogs. What sort of a dog do you have? We know Erica has a cat – is a dog ever going to feature in your books?

YES! I’m so glad you asked because I have plans for a novella about a poor abandoned dog Erica finds. She decides Jack needs a guard dog but Jack will tell her, “I don’t need a dog. I’ve got Joe and enough guns to supply a small country’s army.” Erica can’t keep the pooch because Axle would feed it to the rats, but she does convince Jack to look after the little sweetie. (That plot is still brewing, but I’m imagining Jack walking the dog in the park, and women fighting each other for the privilege of picking up Jack’s dog’s poo.) And my dog? My husband Paul tells people Ella is a “golden retriever cross”, and I say it’s pretty obvious what she’s crossed with. She looks like a giant poodle. We adore her equally. She sleeps in our room, has breakfast with Paul and he feeds her inappropriate things like bread, which she brings into my bed and drops on my face. Sometimes it’s a meaty bone she’s dug up from the garden. We then have cuddles for a couple of hours when really I should be writing, walking Ella or doing yoga. (That gives the impression I actually do yoga sometimes, which I don’t.)


Last question – I know I can’t count!

Lets’ talk next book?

I’m thinking Jack needs to return to New York to deal with the pain of his loss (wife and parents in the twin towers on September 11). He’ll probably not invite Erica (because of the potential danger … something to do with the CIA … I’m thinking Homeland …) but she can’t just let him go alone, can she? Maybe her Mum will want to visit New York. Erica’s dad certainly doesn’t want to go – he might miss episodes of Family Feud. I’m also thinking a little research trip to NY is in order. (Darling hubs? How’s our FF points situation?)

Carol, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! This has been great fun and I’ve learned a few things about myself along the way. I’d be happy to take questions from your readers about writing, the publishing industry, whatever they’re curious about.


If you want to know more about Kathryn follow her here:

Please insert links to your social media sites her Kathryn.




Post Script – Grand Slam – Kathryn Ledson

Grand Slam

Grand Slam

Erica Jewell #3

Kathryn Ledson

Penguin Books

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143799757



Erica Jewell can’t worry about hunky hired gun, Jack Jones, and his commitment-phobic ways right now. She’s flat out managing Dega Oil’s sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis tournament, and doing a pretty good job. That is until a devastating oil-rig explosion sends Dega’s reputation and share price plummeting.


Public outrage over the incident upsets Emilio Méndez – the Open’s biggest draw card – and he wants to cut all ties with Dega. When Erica is sent to calm him, superstitious Emilio becomes convinced he needs her by his side to win. He demands she stay close, and the media annoyingly misinterprets their relationship, much to Jack’s irritation. Meanwhile danger lurks, threatening Emilio and Erica, and she must race against time to discover: Who’s trying to kill them and why?


From the elite inner sanctum of the Australian Open to the packed halls of Chadstone Shopping Centre, can Australia’s favourite accidental heroine save her job, Emilio, and her so-called relationship with Jack Jones?



My View:

Loved every funny, over the top crazy piece of action in this book – another great Erica (aka Emily) Jewell adventure 🙂

PS I loved Emilio – I had pictures in my head of a certain tennis player – *sighs* Fans face :):) 🙂


Well I think those few words pretty accurately sums up my reaction to this book – I loved it, it was so much fun to read and I often found myself laughing out loud. This is another great Australian narrative – full of familiar landmarks, Aussie idioms, self-depreciating humour, with a feisty female protagonist who is fearless, sassy, smart and adventurous ( and who loves cats) and a tennis player who is again a little over the top but is just so prefect this way – dashing, handsome, self-centred, did I mention gorgeous, handsome , dashing?? And then we have Jack Jones – super hero extraordinaire. This book is delight to read and it feels like Kathryn Ledson loves writing this series just as much as I love reading it, I know you will love this book too.


**Can be read as a standalone.




Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

completed challenge


Congrats! You have read 200 books of a goal of 200!

Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.


This Is A Book I am Very Happy To Share With You – For All Lovers of Dogs

I bumped into this book trailer on Facebook – everything about it is cute and hilarious; the author – Frank the French Bulldog, the book trailer itself is brilliantly executed, the essence of the book is fun and laughter and cute dogs (and maybe there is a cat or two, this is an equal opportunity book). You cant have enough smiles in your day…I watched this several times and laughed out loud each time. I must get myself a copy this book.


Dont Fart When You Snuggle



Meet Frank. His goal in life is to make humans smile. And that’s exactly what he and his wisecracking pals do in this guide to living the good life—of a dog! From the creator of the popular greeting card line From Frank™, this playful book offers advice for dogs, by dogs, that’s sure to brighten any human’s day. Photographs accompany unfiltered insights into the weird and wonderful relationship that pets share with their loved ones. Anyone who follows Frank’s advice is in for some extra belly rubs, guaranteed.


The book published by Chronicle Books is available here and is called Don’t Fart When You Snuggle – Lessons on How to Make Humans Smile – by Frank the Dog. Love it. If your day is lacking a smile click on the link here    or on the link below. You wont be sorry 🙂


For the cat lovers: