Post Script: Dognitive Therapy – Laura Vissaritis

Dognitive Therapy

Dognitive Therapy

 Laura Vissaritis

Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780143783497

 

Description:

To change your dog’s behaviour, first you must change yours. A mindful approach to training your dog from Australia’s leading dog behaviourist.

 

Training your dog starts with you.

 

In this friendly and comprehensive guide, expert dog behaviourist Laura Vissaritis teaches you how to better understand your dog’s behaviour and, more importantly, how to change it.

 

Your bond with your dog is incredibly powerful and rewarding, but it is also an instructive relationship. Your dog’s behaviour is directly affected and influenced by your own. Based on successful principles of dog-training and psychology, Laura demonstrates how implementing small changes in behaviour can have a big impact on both you and your canine companion.

 

Packed full of real life case studies, exercises and practical advice, this book will inspire you to take a closer look at your own life to improve your relationship with your dog for good.

 

 

My View:

I had many “aha” moments when reading this book.  The advice, the case studies, the challenges…the rewards, all made so much sense. There are laugh out laugh out loud moments (did you know there is a scientific reason why sometimes your dog smells a bit like cheese nachos? You aren’t imagining things…it’s about sweat glands, see p215) 🙂  There were also times when I had a silent little weep and thought about rescuing another dog after reading the statistics Laura Vissaritis shares regarding animal cruelty, the battle animal rescues have in re homing dogs, especially older dogs and the case studies she shares about how dogs can add so much value to your life. Our Bob the Dog is a “rescued” English Staffordshire Terrier – he gives us so much love, we return that love willingly – in abundance.  We have a great relationship with Bob the Dog that has been enhanced by reading this book and being reminded to look at the world from your dog’s perspective and to remember that your dog will always be dependent on his human…always, forever.

 

Laura’s passion for her work is evident.  Laura’s love for her dogs shines like a beacon in the book.  To claim this book elicited an emotional response from me would be an understatement.  If you have a dog, love dogs, or have always wanted to share your home with a dog I urge you to read this book.

 

Bob the Dog relaxing

Bob the Dog relaxing with his favourite human ( not pictured)

 

 

 

Guest Review: Amber and Alice – Janette Paul

Amber and Alice

Amber and Alice

Janette Paul

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780143783084

 

Description:

Take a hilarious road trip into the Australian outback in this witty romantic comedy, with an enticing family mystery thrown in!

When Amber Jones wakes up in her sister Sage’s speeding car, with no idea how she got there (though the hangover is a clue), all she wants to do is go home. But Sage is convinced a road trip to Alice Springs will finally answer the burning question: who is Amber’s father? Because nine months before Amber’s birth, her late mother Goldie made the same trip . . .

Armed with just a name and Goldie’s diaries, Amber agrees to search for a man she’s never met in one of the world’s biggest deserts.

And that means spending two weeks in a convoy of four-wheel-driving tourists and camping in freezing desert nights. To make matters worse, her fellow travellers hate her and the handsome tour leader Tom thinks she’s an alcoholic.

But slowly the desert starts to reveal its secrets – and Amber must decide which horizon to follow . . .

 

Brenda’s View:

The speeding car, the disorientation, the torn stockings and the bird’s-cage in her mouth had Amber completely confused – where was she, why was she here, and most importantly; why was she with her sister?! Sage wasn’t someone Amber spent a lot of time with; she was the complete opposite to Amber’s meticulous, sensible and organised self – but as the memories gradually returned, she was struck with a horrid slide-show of the previous night…

Sage had “kidnapped” Amber, determining she needed a change in her life and the road trip with a tag-along tour group to Alice Springs was just the thing. But Amber was used to hot showers, her morning coffee from a nearby café and shopping. How would she do camping – in a tent; AND with her sister? But when Sage mentioned Amber’s father – the man she had never met – and the fact that their mother had made the same trip where she’d met him twenty eight years previously, Amber finally and grudgingly agreed…

Nothing seemed to go right for Amber right from when they met up with the tag-along group in the little town of Denman in NSW. Each and every member of the group thought Amber was either crazy, or an alcoholic. And the more Amber tried to get it together, the more it all fell apart. Would their long road trip make things better or worse? Would Amber find her father? And was it possible that she and Sage could be close again?

Amber and Alice is a laugh out loud journey through Central Australia from Sydney to Alice Springs, with towns like Dunedoo, Coober Pedy and Uluru along the way. Aussie author Janette Paul has written a wonderful novel about finding your inner self, and the trouble you can get into along the way. I loved it! I found myself having to smother my laughter quite a number of times – it was such fun! 5 stars! Highly recommended.

With thanks to Penguin Random House AU for my ARC to read and review.

Happy Release Day Dear Banjo- Sasha Wasley

Have a fabulous release day Sasha Wasley.

Dear Banjo

Synopsis:

They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.

Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she’s even spoken to Tom.

When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?

Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.

Dear Banjo is a wildly romantic and utterly captivating story about first love and second chances from an exciting new Australian author.

 

 

Excerpt from Chapter 1

 

Somehow she managed to pack up the entire apartment overnight. On the way to the airport the next morning, Willow got the taxi driver to drop in at Tanya’s place. Her friend was still in her pyjamas when Willow gave her the keys to her apartment and a couple of hundred dollars. Tanya tried to refuse the money but Willow pushed it into her hand.

‘No, Tan, I’ve booked professional cleaners and I need you to pay them for me. Keep whatever’s left over as a thanks. And could you possibly go in and get rid of the boxes I’ve left behind? You can have anything from them or just donate it all to charity. And then if you could just drop the keys off to the real estate agent, I’ll be grateful forever.’

Tanya nodded and her eyes went a little glassy. ‘You’re really going, aren’t you? For good, I mean.’

‘Yeah. Going home at last. I can’t believe I stayed in the city this long.’

Tears spilled down Tanya’s cheeks. ‘I’m going to miss you.’

‘Oh, Tan. You should come visit.’ Willow hugged her. ‘I’ll stay in touch.’

‘It’s not the same,’ Tanya sobbed.

‘I’ll call you in a couple of days, okay?’

Tanya nodded and gave her another tearful hug before letting Willow leave.

Jeez, Willow thought as she ran back to the taxi. Shows of emotion had never been her thing. Okay, she was moving a couple of thousand kilometres away, and she’d miss seeing Tanya at work, but surely it wasn’t worth crying over.

A memory of her sessions with a psychologist surfaced. Willow, you tend to hold people at arm’s length. Why don’t you try letting people in a little more? Willow snapped her attention back to the present, logging into the power company’s website on her phone to cancel her account.

She checked in for her flight and paid an exorbitant amount for her excess baggage before watching it glide away on the conveyer belt – the sum total of her adult life in two large suitcases. No, she remembered. 3700 square kilometres, 6500 head of cattle, a ground­breaking, humane, organic beef operation. That would be the sum total of her adult life.

She settled into her seat and thanked the heavens she’d been placed next to a young fly-in-fly-out type, probably contracted to the Herne River catchment project. He was already plugged into his tablet and watching a show involving zombies, so she wouldn’t have to talk to anyone during the flight. She wanted to write a to-do list. As soon as they were in the air she reached into her bag for a note­pad and her hand met something unfamiliar. Not her notepad.

Tom’s letters.

Willow considered them, her heart rate bumping up all over again. Wouldn’t it almost be an invasion of Tom’s privacy to read them now, so long after he’d intended her to? Maybe those sleeping dogs should just be left to lie?

Yes, she would bin them all – drop them into the roving rubbish bag the next time the steward came around.

But she would be living next door to the Forrests again once she got home. By now, Tom would soon be taking over Quintilla, just as she was about to do with Paterson Downs. Their families were as close as ever. She’d need to resume some kind of relationship with Tom Forrest, no matter how difficult the initial patching up phase would be.

Maybe she could use this three-hour flight from Perth to Mount Clair to read all of Tom’s letters at last. She hadn’t even given the poor guy a chance after looking at the first couple. She’d been so absorbed in her own pain; grappling with the panic she felt every time she thought about what he’d done. Perhaps there had been an apology in one of those letters – an apology she should have acknowledged by now. A retraction of that awful moment when he’d said those words . . .

Tom’s handwriting was scrawled across the front of the topmost envelope – always familiar, no matter how long it had been. Willow took a shaky breath. Seven-thirty in the morning was a little early for a stiff drink, so she requested a coffee and pulled out the first two letters; the ones she’d opened and read ten years earlier.

 

Dear Banjo,

Happy New Year. I guess you’re settled in at the student hall by now. You sure went early. The other kids who got in aren’t leaving until February. I don’t know where you’re staying so I asked Beth to send this on to you. You might have heard I’m probably not going to take up my offer of a place at uni. I’m thinking I’ll defer my course – for now, anyway. Dad’s not fazed. He won’t have to hire extra help this way, not to mention the savings on the tuition fees. Mum’s not overly happy but I keep telling her it’s only for the year. She asks a lot of questions. Not really sure what else to say to you, Banjo. It’s weird without you. Whenever I’m on the quad I turn towards Patersons before I remember you’re not there any more. I keep thinking I’ll see you at the eastern gate, sitting on Rusty, ready for a fenceline race. You knew I’d always beat you but you’d have a go anyway. So, yep. Really weird. You’ve always just been there. I guess it doesn’t quite compute yet. Take care of yourself in the big city, okay?

Tom

P.S. We should probably try to sort this mess out.

 

Buy Links

Dear Banjo is now available in paperback and e-book editions. Visit your local bookstore or department store to pick up a copy. Some purchase links are below or search your favourite outlet.

About the Author

 

Sasha Wasley

Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.

She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.

Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.

Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.

Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.

 

Follow Sasha

 

Guest Post – Sasha Wasley Talks Wine, Writing and Her New Release

Sasha Wasley

Welcome Sasha Wasley to my blog.

Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.

She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.

Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.

Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.

Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley.

Welcome Sasha.

 

I was caught by your blog’s title and immediately tempted to find a way to match the theme – at the same time as introducing Dear Banjo to your followers. As I love wine, and my book is a love story, I felt it was a great opportunity to talk about … wine and love!
My favourite tipple is a fresh sauvignon blanc, and I love both the Australian and New Zealand varieties. In my book, however, my main characters love red wine. The story is set in Mount Clair, a fictional town in the Kimberley region of WA. It’s hot and humid up there, and I imagine red wine drinkers are in the minority, so this was a nice little trait for Willow and Tom to have in common. Let me share the scene where their love of red wine is particularly relevant. Formerly best friends, the two have experienced a long rift, during which they did not have any contact at all. But they’ve made peace and are friends again in this scene, and Willow and her family visit the neighbouring cattle station for Tom’s birthday barbecue.
From Chapter 14
There was a small bunch of people Willow didn’t know, presum¬ably Tom’s friends from town, sitting in a group. Willow went to say hello to the Forrests. Tom, already cleaning the barbecue, offered her a drink.
‘I’ve brought wine,’ she told him. ‘I just need a glass.’
‘Red?’
‘Of course.’
‘Come with me. I’ve got something special for you to drink tonight.’
She followed him into the house and he took her into the spare room. He bent down to open what looked like a dark cabinet in the corner and she heard the clink of bottles.
‘What’s that? A bar fridge?’
‘A wine fridge. I love reds but you can’t keep them properly in this climate. My wine fridge stores wine at the right temperature.’
He straightened and showed her what was in her hand. She gasped.
‘No way. Henschke Hill of Grace?’
Tom waved the bottle in front of her face, his eyes alight with anticipation. ‘Shall we?’
‘You shouldn’t open this tonight. Wait till your thirtieth.’
‘I’ve got something even more special for my thirtieth.’ He opened the fridge and pulled out another bottle.
‘What the hell?’ She stared at him. ‘Grange? Just how well are you guys doing here?’
‘It’s only one bottle. We don’t have a cellar full. I bought it a cou¬ple of years ago and decided to save it for my thirtieth.’
‘And the Hill of Grace for your twenty-ninth?’
He shrugged. ‘That was more of an impulse decision. But you like red, I like red. Hardly anyone in Mount Clair does. So …’
The corner of his mouth was tugged up in an expectant half-smile. She couldn’t help a little answering enthusiasm. ‘Let’s do it!’ He had the corkscrew in his hand before she’d even finished speak¬ing. ‘Cork,’ she breathed.
‘No screw tops for us!’
‘Where are the glasses?’
He nodded towards a cabinet against the wall and she opened the glass slider to pull out two big, dusty wineglasses. Spotting a pillow on the spare bed, Willow whipped off the pillow case and used it to polish the glasses.
Tom guffawed. ‘Classy.’
‘Resourceful,’ she returned.
He popped the cork and sniffed gingerly. ‘Oh, god. Yes.’
Willow almost bounced on the spot with excitement. ‘Is it good?’
‘Beyond good.’ He poured and handed her one. ‘Check us out, hiding in the spare room to drink the good stuff.’
‘Ours. Ours alone,’ she intoned and he doubled over laughing.
They clinked glasses carefully and sipped, watching each other’s faces. Tom waited for her judgement, although she could see he liked it just from his expression. The wine was beautiful and she sighed with pleasure.
‘Tom. It’s the nectar of the gods.’
‘It’s the aged nectar of the gods,’ he said. He gestured towards his wine fridge. ‘Wait till my thirtieth. It’s just a shame I offered half to another living human,’ he added, narrowing his eyes at her in classic villain style.
‘You’ll be lucky to get half the bottle, sharing with me,’ she said.
He laughed, but those blue eyes were on hers and they seemed a little intense. She sipped again, her body heating up uncomfortably.

 

Henschke

Henschke Cellar Door, SA (pic: Henschke.com.au)

I went to visit the Henschke cellar door in South Australia during a visit to the Barossa region in 2009 and it was such a wonderful experience. Not only is the winery itself the most charming, picturesque, historical spot, surrounded by green valleys, vineyards, and those amazing German-style churches – but the wine is incredible.
I stayed in Angaston, home of the famous dried fruit company, and I didn’t quite make it to the town named for my ancestors, Wasleys, which is in the same region. Sadly, the town of Wasleys suffered from terrible Pinery fire that ravaged the region a couple of years ago. I certainly want to go back and explore the area more thoroughly – the history and the buildings, as well as my own family heritage. And the wine may have a little something to do with it, too!

Thank you, Reading, Writing and Riesling, for allowing me to ramble on about love and wine, two of my favourite topics! I do hope your readers enjoy Dear Banjo.

Follow Sasha

Post Script: The Girl In Kellers Way – Megan Goldin

The Girl In Kellers Way

The Girl In Kellers Way

Megan Goldin

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143785446

 

Description:

When a body is found buried near the desolate forest road of Kellers Way, Detective Melanie Carter must identify the victim if she is to have any chance of finding the killer. That’s no easy task with fragmentary evidence from a crime committed years earlier and a conspiracy of silence from anyone who might have information.

 

The one person who may be able to help is Julie West. In a troubled marriage, Julie often jogs along Kellers Way to clear her mind and escape the confines of her suffocating suburban life. Until one day, something happens there that shakes Julie to the core, making her question everything she ever believed about her life, her marriage and even her sanity . . .

 

 

My View:

Most murders are committed by someone known to the victim. More often than not, it’s an immediate relative. A husband. Or a wife.” (back cover)

 

What a fantastic debut novel! I love domestic noir, and this is a great example of the genre.  As I read I solved the mysteries of this narrative in my head only to have nagging doubts bubble to the surface the more pages I turned.  I did not like the character – Matt – what a well written egocentric, calculating individual he is. Julie is not so likeable either – but her actions are understandable, though her neediness is cloying. Julie’s version of events is unreliable – a great plot device.   Who is the baddie here?

 

What character did I enjoy and want to see more of – Detective Melanie Carter.   I do hope this is the start of a series?  I do want to see more of this empathetic, diligent, intelligent woman in the future. This is a great read with a very uncomfortable ending – you will keep thinking about this book long after the last page has been turned.

 

 

 

 

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.