Post Script: All Day Cafe – Stuart McKenzie

All Day Cafe_CVR

All Day Café

Café Style Food At Home

Stuart McKenzie

Murdoch Books

ISBN: 9781743368404

 

Description:

100+ recipes for scrumptious cafe food you can cook at home.

 

A blend of delicious food and urban lifestyle, All Day Café offers more than 100 recipes for sublime café meals you can cook at home. On the menu are easy seasonal ideas for every meal of the day: from Salmon eggs with red onion and dill salsa or French toast with balsamic strawberries for a fresh spring breakfast; Raspberry friands and Cherry pie with Vanilla ice cream for a summer teatime treat; Pulled pork burgers with apple slaw or Mushroom and leek tart for a long autumn lunch; and Pappardelle with beef cheek and gremolata or Scallop, roasted fennel and lemon risotto for winter supper with friends. All dishes are, of course, served with a touch of urban café style!

 

Author bio:

Stuart McKenzie ran a string of successful cafés and restaurants before opening his own café, called South of Johnston, in Melbourne. A passion for interiors gives Stuart a strong sense of design and the confidence to achieve a new kind of café – one that feels more like an extension of the most stylish, vibrant and comfortable living room. His food is fresh, delicious and thoroughly accessible. This is his first book. southofjohnston.com.au

 

My View:

In this book you will discover lots of our old favourites, BLAT, smashed avocado, Bircher muesli, French toast, minestrone soup, chicken noodle soup, lemon tart, terrine, scallops, tomato soup, brownies, pulled pork…and many soon to be new favourites. I love the fresh twist given to some of the classics, the emphasis on fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, the helpful pictures of the finished dish (don’t you think good food photography is a must for a good cook book? I need to have a visual reference when serving /or to see if I have indeed succeeded in reproducing the recipe, and there are some great images).

 

Along with a huge array of easy to make recipes you will discover the secret to making aioli, marinated feta, pesto, dips, dukkah, ( and there is a sweet dukkah which sounds amazing), kasundi ( my all-time favourite sauce/condiment), dressings, relish and so much more.

 

This book has it all and definitely has a place in my kitchen library.

Post Script: Safe From Harm – R J Bailey

Safe From Harm

Safe From Harm

R J Bailey

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471157172

Description:

London: a city where the super-rich flock – and where their enemies follow. And in this city of eight million people, where any stranger could be a threat, a close protection operative is the must-have accessory for anyone who is anyone.

But not just any close protection officer. A female close protection officer. One who can blend into the crowd, but who is tough enough to counter any threat.

Safe From Harm is the explosive opening to an exciting new series by a thrilling new talent.

 

 

My View:

This is an action packed, adrenaline fuelled thriller! It took me a little time to absorb the acronyms and the back story – the story of PPO’s (Personal Protection Officers) I know this needed to be done but I felt this bogged down the narrative…for a short while, then when we were all up to speed – I could not put this book down!

 

A great opening hook – a job description – sounding more glamorous than dangerous – but don’t be fooled – this is a narrative where what you think you see/read is not what you get! Be prepared to be manipulated, to be conned, to be played…then watch what happens to the protagonist!

 

Told from alternating time frames – twenty months earlier, mostly safe and secure and then this very minute – where there is “a man coming to hurt us. Probably more than one man. Two or three perhaps. Not four. They won’t need four to deal with us. After all we are trapped down here…” p. 3 this really is a heart pounding read! I do not say this lightly – I could feel the tension in my body rising as I delved into this narrative, once engaged with the story I could not put this book down.  I had to read until the end, I had to know the outcome…and I was not surprise for the two mega twists here!

 

If you like your protagonist to be strong, sensible, assertive, combat ready and female and your villains to be dastardly, bold, calculating, incredibly smart and savvy who will fool you at least once, maybe twice in this read…than this is the book for you.   Be warned you will be staying up until you finish reading this book. You will not believe the gut wrenching outcomes…but rest assured there is at least one more book in this series, and if you are a fan or Rachel Amphlett, Ian Andrew, Ben Sanders or Lee Child, you will love this thriller.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Agatha and the Dark – Anna Pignataro

Agatha and the Dark

Agatha and the Dark

Anna Pignataro

The Five Mile Press

ISBN: 9781760402075

 

Description:

Agatha is scared of the dark, and George is just making things worse.

When Agatha is accidently locked in a dark room at kindergarten, her body trembles like jelly.

How will she ever sleep in her own bed tonight?

A story about learning to face your fears.

 

My View:

This is an adorable book, beautifully illustrated with a message/lesson for all written between the covers.

Fear- of the dark – seems to be a universal challenge that most young children face at some point in their lives, in this narrative Agatha learns to face her fears by turning her fearful thoughts into a positive experience – Agatha is encouraged to draw something from her imagination… (No spoilers here) J  This is a very creative and positive way to tackle young children’s fears, a great example for parents and caregivers to have in their toolbox of parenting tricks.  And the illustrations are gorgeous!

Add this book to your birthday treat buying list.

The Queen of Quirky is Back! Crimson Lake – Candice Fox

Crimson Lake

Candice Fox

Penguin Books Australia

Bantam

ISBN: 9780143781905

 

Description:

From the award-winning author of Hades and Eden comes an ingenious and edgy suspense novel that will keep you guessing to the very last page . . .

 

12.46: Thirteen-year-old Claire Bingley stands alone at a bus stop

12.47: Ted Conkaffey parks his car beside her

12.52: The girl is missing . . .

 

Six minutes – that’s all it took to ruin Detective Ted Conkaffey’s life. Accused but not convicted of Claire’s abduction, he escapes north, to the steamy, croc-infested wetlands of Crimson Lake.

 

Amanda Pharrell knows what it’s like to be public enemy number one. Maybe it’s her murderous past that makes her so good as a private investigator, tracking lost souls in the wilderness. Her latest target, missing author Jake Scully, has a life more shrouded in secrets than her own – so she enlists help from the one person in town more hated than she is: Ted.

 

But the residents of Crimson Lake are watching the pair’s every move. And for Ted, a man already at breaking point, this town is offering no place to hide . . .

 

 

My View:

The queen of quirky is back!

Candice Fox Margaret River Event 2017

Candice Fox – Margaret River Meet the Author event 2017

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Candice Fox as part of her extended Western Australian book tour. What a great night it was – Candice was open, honest and often hilarious, talking about everything that mattered to her – her childhood, family, marriage, divorce, second marriage, her childhood ambition to become a writer, her writing inspirations, the inspiration she draws from reading true crime novels (which was very evident to me as I read Crimson Lake) and her very successful writing collaboration with James Patterson.  What a night! What a life!

 

If you ever have an opportunity to meet an author/hear them speak about their work, take advantage of the opportunity – as a reader you learn so much more about the characters and how they came to life on the page, how they formed in the mind of the author. At the time I attend this event I was about 75% into Candice’s latest book Crimson Lake, and I noticed so many references that reflected places or people Candice had known, events in her life etc. and I discovered this Crimson Lake has been optioned for Television and there will be a second book in this new series. The TV option did not really surprise me – just the speed in which it occurred (as I was reading the first thing I thought was – this would make a great movie.)

 

This would make a great movie, why? Quirky, colourful, empathetic characters to start. Small town, semi-rural Queensland locations – with small town minds, dramas and… crocodiles – always good elements to ratchet up the creepiness and fear levels.  And themes – child abuse, missing persons, and famous authors, the questionable good cop or bad cop, did he do it? Did she do it? And the big question, why? The list goes on.

 

This book has a lot to offer (though I did think the start was just a little slow for my taste) but persevere and you will find an amazing read. Read it now before you see the film.

 

 

Guest Review – Silkworm Secrets: Lea Davey

silkworm-secrets

Silkworm Secrets

Lea Davey

Valeena Press

ISBN: 9780994535627

 

Description:

A treehouse perched high in a giant mulberry tree provides a safe place for Bobby, and gives him solace from a disintegrating home life. His best friend Ruby considers it only as a place to play, to raise silkworms and to innocently view the events that take place in the yards nearby.

Ruby’s simple, family life however, is a far cry from what Bobby endures in the house next door and the secrets they share and events that they witness will not only impact their lives as children but also re-connect them as adults.

Silkworm Secrets exposes the secrets that children keep, the consequences of a troubled family life, but more importantly the endurance of beautiful family relationships and the power of friendship and love to overcome the past.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Ruby Rose had a wonderful childhood – she loved her Mum and Dad dearly and they loved her. They were a poor but happy little family. Ruby’s best friend was Bobby who lived next door to her. They would spend their time up in the treehouse at the back of Ruby’s yard which was housed in a gigantic mulberry tree. The silkworms they raised were a source of pleasure and fascination every season. Ruby was nine; Bobby was twelve – she couldn’t imagine ever not being friends with Bobby.

It was fun to watch the yards of the houses around them from the treehouse – Bobby would often catch sight of what was happening in his yard and hurry home to care for his little sister Sally. He shared her care with his big sister Theresa. On those occasions Bobby would grow quiet and Ruby didn’t know why…

Gradually the torment that was Bobby’s life in the house next door came to light – only to Ruby though. Bobby swore her to secrecy; their little club had silkworm secrets which no one must know. The day that Ruby arrived home to discover Bobby had disappeared shattered her young life. She had no idea why he’d left; why he hadn’t even said goodbye.

Would Ruby Rose ever see Bobby again? She missed her best friend – but life moved forward as it invariably does – until the day Ruby was contacted about the long ago past…

Silkworm Secrets by Aussie author Lea Davey absolutely blew me away! It was beautifully written – filled with deep emotion and heartache, love and an abiding friendship, it also covered a range of sensitive topics, from child abuse, mental health and domestic violence. The author had me in tears on a number of occasions. I thoroughly enjoyed her debut, The Shack by the Bay and Silkworm Secrets definitely didn’t disappoint. A well-deserved 5 stars! Highly recommended.

Wendy James…Welcome Back… Part 2

golden-child

Do you have fun with your characters, inject some humour to counter balance the darkness? Wendy shares how she achieves this in The Golden Child (and by the way – I too really enjoyed reading the blog posts/comments injected in the narrative, they made me smile).

Welcome Wendy James…Lets Talk About Characters and The Golden Child

 

Please welcome the fabulous Wendy James to my blog – I am so excited to have her featured here today.

Wendy’s latest novel is The Golden Child – a book that is racing up the charts.  I loved this read- the manipulations, the twists, the brilliantly developed characters.  I asked her a few key questions regarding her characters and how they are created/evolve. As a reader I am fascinated with the writing process and what inspires my favourite authors.

golden-child

Are you a “people watcher”? Do you imagine the life histories/futures of strangers? Do you read a book, a news  item and imagine a scenario, a narrative? Let’s hear what Wendy has to say.

 

 

 

More to come…stay tuned.