Post Script: Everything You Told Me – Lucy Dawson

A great introductory hook and a narrative that cleverly plays into every mother’s sense of guilt – is she doing enough/coping/not coping…etc

Everything You Told me

Everything You Told Me

Lucy Dawson

Allen & Unwin Australia

Atlantic

Corvus

ISBN: 9781782396253

 

Description:

Sally wakes up in the middle of nowhere, with a suicide note in her pocket and no memory of the previous twenty four hours. When she discovers what happened to her, she is shocked to the core…

Saturday morning, dawn. Mother of two Sally finds herself on a cliff top, miles away from home. The place is familiar but the journey is a blank. She’s lost the last ten hours of her life.

To all appearances, Sally was there to jump. She had nothing on her apart from a suicide note when the local police took her in. But Sally knows she would never leave her children behind…

Which leaves the question: who has done this to her? And who would believe Sally if she told?

 

My View:

A great introductory hook and a narrative that cleverly plays into every mother’s sense of guilt – is she doing enough/coping/not coping…etc

 

A great read which has all the elements I like in a good  psychological thriller; an great opening hook – in this instance the protagonist wakes up alone and disoriented on a cliff top – not knowing how she got there and with what appears to be a suicide note in her pocket.

 

Then we have my favourite device – the unreliable narrator…Sally’s recollections, thoughts, are a little confused, she is sleep deprived, anxious… so much guilt, perhaps suffering post-natal depression?  What do we believe is happening here? Who is right?

 

Then there are the twists – so many – so good but just one little point that is essential to the outcome, the big piece of evidence that changes the whole direction of your thoughts… just seemed a little too convenient, just niggled at me – after I finished reading. At the time I was engrossed in this reveal, it changed everything. And I went with it, I followed this new clue, and was lead on another twisty path and the ending…would never ever have seen that coming. So all in all a really good read but just after I finished reading there was just that hint of bad taste in my mouth , the feeling that something was not quite right, a detail that was just a little too convenient and all too easily wrapped everything up (no spoilers here). Will it bother you? Who knows…you will have to read it to find out.

 

 

 

 

My View:

 

Post Script: A Whole New Way To Eat – Vladia Cobrdova

A Whole New Way To Eat

Vladia Cobrdova

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743368978

 

Description:

Stunning recipes for fad-free eating from the original modern Australian health food providore.

 

Step into fad-free whole-food eating with recipes you can trust from the original modern Australian health food providore.

 

A Whole New Way to Eat is the healthy recipe collection all households need. Everyone is welcome at the table with this way of eating – whether you’re looking for inspirational vegan, paleo or vegetarian recipes or you’re simply after truly delicious food that just happens to be good for you. From The Best Turmeric Yoghurt and Tahini Potato Salad to the hands-down most delicious Raw Caramel Slice you’ve ever tried, your body will thank you from your tastebuds to your gut. Nutritionist and recipe developer Vladia Cobrdova from About Life recreates over 135 of the mouth-watering dishes she’s made popular in the stores’ busy cafes, takeaway and ready-made meal sections.

 

A Whole New Way to Eat is a modern take on healthy eating for those more interested in eating well than following the latest craze.

 

Author bio:

“Vladia Cobrdova is a nutritionist, recipe developer and Wellness Ambassador for About Life, Australia’s largest wholefoods retail chain. Born and raised in Czechoslovakia, Vladia first saw and tasted avocadoes and mangoes when she came to Australia as an au pair. She started working at a juice bar and health food shop called About Life when she was studying to be a nutritionist. Fourteen years later that business is now the largest retailer of health food in Australia and Vladia develops the recipes for the business. She’s still blown away by the taste of avocadoes and mangoes.”  https://www.murdochbooks.com.au/browse/books/healthy-cooking/A-Whole-New-Way-to-Eat-Vladia-Cobrdova-9781743368978

 

 

 

My View:

I haven’t had the time lately to experiment in the kitchen with recipes from some of the new cook books I have at hand, (we have been on holidays, twice in the past two months and when back home have been extra busy, or had lots of visitors or commitments), this year has just been busy. However tonight I sat down and had a good look at A Whole New Way To Eat by Vladia Cobrdova and I am  now excited about the idea of returning to the kitchen and trying out some of these tantalizing, fresh, healthy and delicious looking recipes.

 

There are great breakfast ideas, dips, sides, mains, snacks, lunch, soups… “The dishes in this book cover every occasion – for when you only have 10 minutes to prepare a nutritious snack to keep the energy levels up and stress levels down, or for creating a meal to impress your guests. Perhaps you want to experience the sense of achievement you get from baking bread and serving with lashings of good quality local butter?” (YES YES YES) Vladia hopes that by sharing these recipes she can pass on some of the enjoyment and satisfaction that cooking has given her, her family and the clients of About Life. (p9)  And the recipes here cater to a variety of dietary requirements; including gluten free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw food, meat lovers…there is sure to be something here for everyone.

 

Let’s get cooking!

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Vicious Circle – C J Box

Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle

Joe Pickett #17

CJ Box

Harper Collins Publishers Australia

Head of Zeus

ISBN: 9781784973148

 

Description:

The past comes back to haunt game warden Joe Pickett and his family with devastating effect.

 

One man hell-bent on avenging his family, the other dead-set on protecting his… Joe Pickett always knew there’d be a day of reckoning. And now that day has come. Two years ago, his daughter was beaten and dumped by the side of a country road. Joe’s determination to avenge her forced him into a catastrophic confrontation with the Cates clan that left three of their number dead and put the two survivors behind bars. Now the youngest son, Dallas, is out of prison and back in town. Joe knows exactly why he’s returned – an eye for an eye. All Joe can do is wait for Dallas to make the first move…

 

My View:

I’ll keep this review brief as you all know how much I love this author and in particular this series. This is another outstanding episode in the life of game warden Joe Pickett, the narrative just keeps setting darker and more intense as the series goes on.  This is a clear your diary, order dinner to be delivered, read in one night kind of book…you will not be disappointed!

 

I’ll add one additional thought – the Wanda Stacy event raised my blood pressure several notches…very, very, dark AND I loved that Nate Romanowski was called on to help Joe out. Nate is a character that forces you to ask yourself “what would you do in his situation?” Decisions are not always easy or clear cut…

 

I am ready for the next episode CJ.

 

Post Script: In Two Minds – Gordon Parker

In Two Minds

In Two Minds

A Novel

Professor Gordon Parker

Ventura Press

ISBN: 9781925384192

 

Description:

I can more or less guarantee that you know someone for whom this book will be important and inspiring. There’s a very strong chance that person will be you.Stephen Fry

 

Dr Martin Homer is a GP with a naturally sunny disposition. Honourable, attentive and trusted by all of his patients, Martin has only ever loved one woman – his wife, Sarah.

 

When his mother dies suddenly, Martin’s comfortable life is thrown into complete disarray. After sinking into the black dog of grief and depression, he ascends to new heights in a frenzied, manic high. Now, he’s never felt better!

 

In between riding his new skateboard around the streets at night and self-medicating from his stash at work, the artificially elated and self-entitled Martin crosses paths with Bella, a beautiful and sexual young woman profoundly damaged by trauma of her own.

 

In Two Minds takes you on a quirky, rollicking journey that unveils the complexities of mental illness with wit and warmth. Gordon Parker’s impressive career in psychiatry reveals itself through extremely rich descriptions of depression, bipolar and borderline personality characteristics.

 

My View:

 

This is an excellent portrait of mental illness wrapped in a personal narrative that is highly relatable and so engaging you will not be able to put this book down!

 

Martin’s Early Story (yes that is the chapter heading) was so sad – a child who tries to please everyone, a peacekeeper, a child carrying a burden of guilt…most who read this introduction to Martin’s life will feel compassion, sadness and perhaps a little anger directed at the adults in his life. Some will anticipate that the roads Martin will travel in the future will be potholed with mental health issues, and they will be right.

 

 

Bella’s introduction – such a revelation – her personality is uncanny in its familiarity, I recognise the “Bella” in so many women I have worked with/for – such damaged souls are everywhere! The author does not provide the same amount of personal history and  information about Bella or her early life or the events that shaped her thought processes, we don’t hear Bella’s story or her voice, so much as see her reactions to the world around her and the damage she inflicts on herself and to those close by.  We see Bella via her actions, her behaviours, her reactions, her manipulations… the author has created an excellent device to show how mental illness, (including depression) can affect individuals in different ways.

 

The two protagonists however are equal in the amount of pain they feel.

 

What happens when these two damaged individuals meet is devastating, yet like the drivers on a road compelled to watch the scene of an accident, we are compelled to read on, to watch this crash as it happens; brutal, destructive and bloody.

 

This is an excellent, thought provoking read! The author has created a captivating narrative written with a touch of dark humour and wit that will influence the way you perceive/judge the people around you. Gordon Parker has taken a socially taboo illness, shone a light on it, personalised it and thereby provided opportunities for further discussion.   Well done Gordon Parker.

 

 

PS

 

A question for the author – did you deliberately create one empathetic protagonist (Martin) and one not so for a reason? Perhaps to highlight the many faces of depression/mental illness and the way society responds?

 

Post Script: Monsieur Chat – Jedda Robaard

Monsieur Chat

Monsieur Chat

Jedda Robaard

The Five Mile Press

ISBN: 9781760405007

 

Description:

Once there were two very lonely people who lived in a very old apartment block, in a very busy city.

 

Although they had lived there a very long time, they’d never met.

 

Their names were Josephine and Pierre and each spent their days wistful and alone until… Monsieur Chat arrived! Each feels less lonely with him around, but when he disappears a desperate search unites them and changes their lives forever…

 

Jedda’s delicate illustrations will convert another whole new league of fans.

 

Lovely retro-style pictures with lift-up flaps showing hidden details so children will feel like they are in on a secret.

 

Children love being smarter than adults and they will relish the fact that they can see Monsieur Chat but Josephine and Pierre can’t.

 

Adults will enjoy the subtle reference to Sleepless in Seattle.

 

 

My View:

This book is such a delight to read and to share with your little one – beautiful, divine illustrations, gorgeous prose and the “magic” of lift up flaps – a great device for “sharing the secrets” of this narrative, this device always brings such joy, “surprising” the littlies, it really involves them in the storytelling and there are plenty of opportunities for the adult readers to point out/talk about the many items hidden behind the flaps, to “see” what the adults cannot…such fun.

 

I love a children’s book that “grows” with the child; for younger children I can open the pages and devise my own stories, discuss features on the pages, talk about /point out colours/objects/ and animals for example (this is where the beautiful illustrations are such a valuable resource) and then as the child grows and has a greater ability to concentrate and to follow the narrative I can read the words and discuss the themes with them.

 

A book that grows with your child is a book that will be loved for a long time, this one has a special place on my grandson’s book shelf.

 

 

 

Post Script: The Dark Room – Jonathan Moore

 

The Dark Room

 

The Dark Room

Jonathan Moore

Hachette Australia

Orion

ISBN: 9781409165033

 

Description:

The heart-pounding follow-up to the “electrifying”* Poison Artist shows what happens when our deepest secrets are unburied.

*Stephen King

 

Gavin Cain, an SFPD homicide inspector, is in the middle of an exhumation when his phone rings. San Francisco’s mayor is being blackmailed and has ordered Cain back to the city; a helicopter is on its way. The casket, and Cain’s cold-case investigation, must wait.  At City Hall, the mayor shows Cain four photographs he’s received: the first, an unforgettable blonde; the second, pills and handcuffs on a nightstand; the third, the woman drinking from a flask; and last, the woman naked, unconscious, and shackled to a bed. The accompanying letter is straightforward: worse revelations are on the way unless the mayor takes his own life first.  An intricately plotted, deeply affecting thriller that keeps readers guessing until the final pages, The Dark Room tracks Cain as he hunts for the blackmailer, pitching him into the web of destruction and devotion the mayor casts in his shadow.

 

My View:

Dark, dark and darker- this fantastic police procedural will keep you up all night until the crime has been solved and the villains dealt with.

 

This is a multilayered narrative – narratives of the past (cold cases) and present (new case) colliding providing depth to the narrative and then there is the back story – every bit as engaging – the story of Cain, what happened at his precinct – something shocking that is referred to but not fully disclosed and the incident involving Cain’s now girlfriend, Lucy – a virtual recluse since the incident (in which she was a victim/hero).  Moore drip feeds us information about the various stories throughout the read but it is not enough, I want to know more about this situation and how the relationship between Cain and Lucy began…there is so much happening in this narrative.

 

Dark, evocative, complex and engaging – this police procedural has it all – and I do hope there is a book 2 to come soon.

Post Script: The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman ( aka Everything You Want Me to Be ) Mindy Mejia

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman

The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman (aka Everything You Want Me to Be)

Mindy Mejia

Hachette Australia

Quercus

ISBN: 9781784295936

 

Description:

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

 

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

 

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

 

My View:

This narrative is so much more than a whodunit, it has so much more to offer than a psychological thriller, indeed it offers the reader so much more of life you will be rendered emotionally spent at the end of this work of crime fiction/ life lit/YA/murder mash up. WOW!

Powerful, credible and engaging…this is a fabulous read that will have you staying up late to finish the last page. And then you will be bereft!

 

I was astounded by the amazing insight that teen Hattie has about her life and the meaning of her existence and how she was able to verbalise her identity crisis – we all at some stage of our life ponder who we are and what we are doing with our life, what a great basis for a crime novel, what a way to connect with an audience.  Hattie ponders her existence, her role, her identity, the big WHY’s and the honest answer she eventually provides herself is life changing or more accurately life ending.   So much irony here.

 

Credit must be given to this author for creating such a loathsome manipulative character who somehow we cannot help but empathise with, as we do with all the main characters. The three, first person perspectives work effectively to flesh out the story and to bring out the honesty, humanness and great sadness that completes this narrative.  This is the thinking person’s murder mystery.   WOW WOW WOW- this is a great read.

 

PS I prefer the Australian tittle i.e The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman – says it all really  🙂