Review: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia, a time to remember and honour those who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations in defense of Australia and New Zealand. The date, April 25th, specifically  references the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915, a doomed campaign that nevertheless birthed the legend of the ANZAC spirit.

My daughter has been accorded the honour of leading today’s ANZAC march in my country town, on the 100th anniversary of the landings, bearing the Australian flag. My oldest son will wear his grandfather’s service medals as he and his brother march with their cub troop. We will remember them. Lest we forget.

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Title: Gallipoli Street

Author: Mary-Anne O’Connor

Published: MIRA: Harlequin AU March 2015

Status: Read from April 23 to 24, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A sweeping saga of romance, friendship, family and war, Gallipoli Street is Mary-Anne O’Connor’s debut novel.

Its 1913 and the declaration of war is about to shatter the rural idyll of Beecroft, home to the close knit O’Shay, Murphy and Dwyer families, who will discover their fates are intertwined by tragedy and love.

The romance of Gallipoli Street begins with the passionate love story between childhood friends, Veronica O’Shay and Jack Murphy. It is an epic tale that sees the couple overcome a scheming femme fatale, the perils of their service in the Great War, and Jack’s struggle to reconcile his experiences on his return home.
Twenty years later their son finds love in a New Guinea field hospital ward with orphaned nurse Theresa, but their relationship is shattered when shocking secrets from her past are exposed.

The story takes us from the trenches of Gallipoli, to the deserts of Egypt, from the muddy battlefield of The Somme, to the dense jungle of the Kokoda Trail. No matter the period or arena, war proves to be a universally horrifying and heartbreaking experience which the author relates with truth and compassion.

An appealing and poignant tale, O’Connor has drawn inspiration for both the story of Gallipoli Street and its characters from the lives of her maternal grandparents lending it authenticity and heart.

Gallipoli Street is available to purchase from

Harlequin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

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Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

Title: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

Author: Georgia Madden

Published: Nero April 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from April 21 to 22, 2015 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden is an entertaining, lighthearted tale about modern motherhood, marriage and fashion.

“I would be the type of yummy mummy real mothers could relate to, and had even coined the perfect hashtag for my instagram feed – #FashMum.”

Being a SAHM is not quite working out the way Ally Bloom hoped. She adores her baby daughter but she has no interest in sitting cross-legged in a dirty school hall singing The Wiggles greatest hits with the ‘Happy Mummies’ and their snotty-nosed offspring. Now that her mother-in-law has come to stay it seems the perfect time to cut her maternity leave short and return to work as a PR executive for the prestigious fashion label Moda, but when Ally learns she has been replaced by a 22-year-old bimbo, she resigns and develops a master plan to become the perfect mother.

“3. Embrace inner earth mama: Weave, bake, plant fragrant herb path or veggie patch, and insta everything as I go along. Use tag #soblessed at least once per day.”

Armed with Nigella Lawson’s How To be a Domestic Goddess, a new wardrobe of cardigans and flats, and her master plan, Ally makes a sincere attempt to get it together and impress her husband, Matt, mother-in-law Judy and the mummy mafia. Her failures are amusing as Madden underscores the competitive edge of motherhood and the pressure of aiming for social media perfection.

“Safe to say, it was, quite possibly, the worst coffee morning in the history of coffee mornings. To top it all off, not one single moment of it had been worthy of my Instagram feed.”

While Ally struggles to adjust to life as a permanent SAHM, she is also struggling with the changes parenthood has wrought in her marriage to Matt and Madden identifies the distance that can sometimes creep between couples with the shift in lifestyle and priorities. Cameron (aka #HotDaddy) provides a distraction for Ally who is flattered by his flirtation.

Madden pokes gentle fun at the members of ‘Happy Mummies’ who are reluctant to admit their lives before children had any value and whose toddlers have Mandarin tutors, wear only natural fibers and eat only organic, gluten free homemade foods. These women are alien to Ally who is quick to dismiss them as ‘saddo losers’ but slowly she discovers she has more in common with them than she thought, and when the group is threatened with closure, Ally is determine to save the day.

“Look, you might think Happy Mummies is just a bunch of mums singing stupid songs and making a mess of your school hall floor every Tuesday morning, but it’s so much more than that…These women, the friendships you make, they have the power to save you, to keep you afloat, at a time in your life when you’re not even sure how you are going to make it through the next day. I know because they saved me.”

There is plenty of humour in this sharply amusing, well paced novel. Wry observation is teamed with snappy dialogue and sarcasm, the characters and scenes may be exaggerated for effect but include a kernel of truth and familiarity for any modern day mother.

#FashMum#Witty#Sharp#AGoodRead#NiceworkGeorgiaMadden

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum is available to purchase from

Black Inc Books Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Black Inc Books, I have

5 print editions of

 Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

to giveaway to five lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close May 3rd,  2015

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Blog Tour: An Excerpt from All That Sparkles by Claire Boston

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An excerpt from All That Sparkles {Book 2 of the Texan Quartet} by Claire Boston

Imogen has led a sheltered upbringing. When Christian asks her what she wants to do on their date, she chooses a local theme park as she’s never been to one. This scene starts as they arrive.

******

Imogen was ridiculously excited by the time they arrived at the boardwalk. She had to laugh. Her father would be absolutely horrified. The boardwalk represented everything he hated: crowds, cheesy souvenirs and mass-produced food.
Christian took hold of her hand. “Where do you want to begin?”
“The rollercoaster.” She’d seen it from a distance as they drove in and was worried she’d chicken out if she didn’t do it right away.
Christian laughed. “All right. Let’s get some tickets.”
They wandered along a path. There was a mixture of families with small children, teenagers on their own and young adults. Imogen glanced up at a ride proclaiming itself the Iron Eagle Zipline as the chair at the top of the line came rushing back to earth. Her heart thumped at the screams issuing from the chair. “We need to do that as well,” she said.
“Whatever you want,” Christian said. “Come on, the ticket booth is over there.”
While Christian bought the tickets she scanned the park, deciding what else she wanted to do.
“Here.” He handed her a ticket. “It’s a day pass.”
Imogen hadn’t offered to pay. “How much do I owe you?”
He gave her a look. “You’re my date; I’m paying today.”
She opened her mouth to protest, but he interrupted, “Unless you want me to pay for my ticket from Friday night.”
She closed her mouth again. He was right. If he wanted to pay for her she should let him. It was weird because she usually paid when she went on dates. “All right,” she said. “But I should warn you that I’m expecting both donuts and cotton candy.”
He grinned. “I can manage that.”
They lined up for the rollercoaster, the Boardwalk Bullet. It was huge, and as Imogen watched a carriage plummet down the first drop, she squeezed Christian’s hand. She was going to do this. She was going to ride this wooden rollercoaster. She was going to take this risk.
It wasn’t long before it was their turn. The front seat was free and Christian pulled her in.
“It’s the best spot.”
Imogen wasn’t so sure she wanted to be right at the front, but she went with him and waited for the safety bar to lock in to place. She glanced at it dubiously. It wasn’t a whole lot to keep her from falling out.
The carriage moved and Imogen clutched Christian’s hand. This was it! Nerves and excitement clattered queasily around in her stomach. The carriage was dragged up an incline and Imogen could see across the parking lot and marina to one side and the Texas Gulf on the other. Then, before she could catch her breath, the ride was going around a bend and dropping straight down.
“Hands up,” Christian shouted, putting his hands up in the air, and hers went with him. Her stomach dropped along with the ride and she shrieked as they twisted and turned. It was insane. Her body was thrown violently around and she had no control over what she was doing, where she was going.
It was terrifying and it was thrilling.
She didn’t breathe properly until they came to a slow stop.
“Oh my gosh,” she said, her skin tingling.
“What did you think?” Christian asked as they exited the ride.
She couldn’t think straight. Adrenalin was racing around her body and she couldn’t stand still. What a buzz. “That was so much fun.” She tapped her hands on her thighs. “Can we go again?”
“Sure thing.”
She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Thanks.” She grabbed his hand before he could kiss her again. “Come on.” She dragged him back to the line.

Published by Momentum, April 2015

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Review & Giveaway: The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

 

Title: The Chocolate Promise

Author: Josephine Moon

Published: Allen & Unwin April 2015

Read an Extract

Status: Read on April 09, 2015 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

A sweet tale about love, friendship, family and chocolate, The Chocolate Promise is Josephine Moon’s second novel.

Christmas Livingstone is doing what she loves, making and selling gourmet chocolate treats in her very own store, The Chocolate Apothecary, and spreading joy, helping those in need in her community. She has ten simple rules for happiness, all of which have helped her rebuild her life after fleeing heartbreak three years previously and she is determined to stick with them, even when Lincoln van Luc, a botanist, wanders into her shop and threatens the most important rule of all… ‘Absolutely no romantic relationships’.

“The rules, she reminded herself. The rules were there for her protection. The rules had served her well and kept her steady for the past three years. Now was not the time to abandon the rules.”

Christmas is happy with the life she has made for herself and the plans she has for the future but the rules that have allowed her to rebuild her life begin to chafe when first wins a place on a week-long course with a world-renowned French chocolatier, and then she meets Lincoln. Christmas (a ridiculous name btw) is creative, intelligent and kind but she is also emotionally closed off due to a dysfunctional childhood and a recent trauma. Moon gently guides her character into dealing with her past and opening up her heart as the story unfolds.

The romantic relationship between Christmas and Lincoln is complicated by Christmas’s ‘rules’ and Lincoln’s wunderlust. Lincoln, a botanist, has spent most of his life traveling the world and doesn’t plan to stay in Tasmania long. He has returned to help his Nan, a wonderful character, and work on his book, but falling in love with Christmas forces him to reassess his future.

I delighted in the settings, a small town in Tasmania with ‘period’ tourist appeal, the Chocolate Apothecary sounds like a pretty store and I could easily imagine the tempting treats gracing the shelves and the rich smell of molten chocolate. Francophiles will enjoy Christmas’s sojourn in France touring the countryside exploring lavender farms in Provence, and whipping up treats like a champagne and vodka chocolate ganache to coat fresh rasberries in Aix.

This novel, with its appealing characters and feel good storyline, is a lovely way to treat yourself on a lazy afternoon, but be warned, you will be craving chocolate before you are through, so make sure you have your favourite on hand.

The Chocolate Promise is available to purchase from

Allen and Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Allen & Unwin, I have

5 print editions of

The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

to giveaway

to five lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close May 3rd,  2015

 

Weekend Cooking: Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

wkendcooking

I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.

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Title: Season of Salt and Honey

Author: Hannah Tunnicliffe

Published: Pan Macmillan April 2015

Status: Read from April 19 to 20, 2015 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Season of Salt and Honey is a bittersweet story of grief, love, family and food from forkandfiction.com blogger and author, Hannah Tunnicliffe.

Overwhelmed by grief after the death of her fiance, Francesca Caputo flees the sympathies of her well meaning family, seeking refuge in an abandoned cabin owned by Alex’s parents in a forested area of Washington. All Frankie wants is time alone to mourn the loss of forever, but her solitude is repeatedly interrupted, forcing her to reassess everything she thought she knew about her relationship, her family and herself.

“We were high-school sweethearts, just like everyone dreams about but no one actually has, because that kind of thing only happens in the movies. I knew right in my bones just how lucky I was. I knew everything was perfect, and did all the right things to keep it that way. Until now.”

Frankie’s grief at the loss of Alex is raw and biting, I felt for her and could understand her wish to be alone. She is craving peace and quiet, and the time to wallow in her happiest memories, but eventually Frankie is forced to confront some painful truths about her relationship with Alex when an offhand comment shakes her to the core.

“A loss that had started long before the ocean took him for good.”

Despite her desire for solitude, Frankie is befriended by caretaker, Jack, and his impish daughter, Huia, as well as the generous spirited Merriem, who all provide unexpected comfort as Frankie struggles to comes to terms with the changes Alex’s death has wrought. I liked these charming, enigmatic characters who offer kindness without expectation.

Frankie’s family is delightful, stereotypically Italian there is no escaping their loving, if somewhat suffocating, concern. While her Papa is a solid, comforting presence, Frankie’s aunts, Zia Rosa and Zia Connie, fuss and worry, cousin Vinnie makes mischief, and her estranged sister, Isabella, camps on her doorstep, reminding her of things she would rather forget.

Frankie’s family equates food with love, and Season of Salt and Honey includes the recipes for a handful of Italian dishes served and shared within its pages, including Pitta Mpigliata (Sweetbread rosettes with fruit and nuts); Lingua de Suocera (Marmalade filled pastries); Spring Risotto; and Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with eggplant, tomato and salted ricotta).

“The smells of the forest — the damp dark of the soil, the bleeding sap of the trees, the lemony cedar smell — all vanish in the company of the Sicilian food: the pungent garlic in Zio Mario’s salami, the vinegar pickling the vegetables, olives bobbing in brine, roasted peppers, the ubiquitous, sunshine-coloured olive oil.”

With lovely writing and a measured, almost lyrical, tempo, Season of Salt and Honey is a poignant novel embracing both the sourness and sweetness of love.

Available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

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Review: Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

 

Title: Inside the O’Briens

Author: Lisa Genova

Published: Simon & Schuster April 2015

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read on April 11, 2015   {I own a copy – Courtesy Simon & Schuster}

My Thoughts:

A moving story exposing a family’s struggle when patriarch Joe O’Brien, a police officer in his mid forties, is diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, an incurable and untreatable condition , and his four children must decide if they will be tested and face their fate.

Inside the O’Briens is available to purchase from

Simon  & Schuster Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AU I via Booko

 Gallery Books  I Amazon US I Book Depository

and all good bookstores.

Also by Lisa Genova on Book’d Out

 

Review: Love at First Flight by Tess Woods

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Title: Love at First Flight

Author: Tess Woods

Published: HarperCollins Au April 2015

Status: Read from April 15 to 16, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Told from the first person perspectives of Mel and Matt, Love at First Flight is an unconventional love story which explores the motives for an illicit affair, and the damage left in its wake.

When Mel meets Matt during an interstate flight they recognise each other as soul mates. The problem is Mel is a married mother of two who lives in Perth, and Matt, who lives in Melbourne, is engaged to be married. Despite saying goodbye at the airport, they are both unable to forget their brief time together, and embark on a passionate affair that threatens to destroy them both.

Relationships are complicated things and Woods intelligently and compassionately explores the evolution of Matt and Mel’s affair from their first meeting, through their consuming affair, and to the messy, bitter end. It’s an emotional journey that draws the reader in with complex characterisation and a compelling narrative.

I was surprised to find I could relate to Mel in some ways, I found it difficult to blame her for reveling in the attention Matt gave her during the flight, but she definitely crossed the line for me when she chose to meet with him later. Her spiral into obsession was unsettling but I believed in it, as I did in her growing self awareness.

I particularly admired the way Mel eventually took responsibility for her failings with her husband. Mel’s shame and guilt, and Adam’s hurt and anger, in the aftermath is visceral. I’ve witnessed a similar situation among friends and feel that Woods portrayal of their struggle towards forgiveness and redemption is very well drawn.

Woods convinced me of the overwhelming chemistry between Mel and Matt, no mean feat considering I’m not sure I really believe in the idea of love at first sight. I wasn’t a fan of Matt, despite his sympathetic background he struck me as a weak man, but I thought he was a well rounded character.

Love at First Flight is a surprisingly thought provoking story about love, marriage, intimacy and honesty. An impressive debut from a new Australian author.

 

Learn more about Love at First Flight, Tess Woods and her road to publication in her guest post published earlier today

Love at First Flight is available to purchase from

HarperCollins I Amazon I Amazon Au I Google Play I Kobo I iTunes

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AWW Feature: Tess Woods, Love at First Flight and the road to publication

Tess Woods Author photo

I’m delighted to introduce Tess Woods to you today to celebrate the publication of her debut novel, Love at First Flight.

Tess Woods is a health professional who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.

Love at First Flight is her first novel, published by HarperCollins Australia

LoveAtFirstFlighteCover‘Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don’t regret it.
What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?
Mel is living the dream. She’s a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.
What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.”

My review of Love at First Flight can be seen HERE, in the meantime please read on to learn more about Tess Woods and her road to publication…

My road to publication was long with speed humps and detours!

I wrote the first draft in three days. I had a flash of inspiration, grabbed pen and paper, locked myself away and pumped out a novel. As I wrote, I imagined publishers tripping over themselves to get their hands on it. I pictured bidding wars and movie rights. Then I read over it. It was drivel.

It took me a month of writing every evening to get to draft two. It was still drivel. I called in back-up. I sent the manuscript to an assessment agency. The editor reported back after six weeks saying it was drivel. I already knew that! What I wanted was some help to point me in the right direction.

So I tried a different manuscript assessor. This time I struck gold. Meredith Whitford from Between Us was clever, insightful and she cut to the chase.
“It’s got X-factor,” she said. “But it needs lots of polish. You’ll get it published. It’s one of the best manuscripts I’ve seen.”
Along with her comments, Meredith had a forty point list of things to work on. I spent six months writing draft three and re-submitted it. “Getting there but not quite,” was her response so I spent the next six months working on draft four. Then I had Meredith’s tick of approval.

But what if she liked it and nobody else did? I decided to get a third opinion and sent the manuscript to Nikki Davies. She came up with four pages of suggestions. Three months later I had draft five and three months after that I had draft six. I felt ready to take on the literary world. Again I imagined bidding wars and movie deals.

Over the next two years I was rejected by all twenty-two literary agents in Australia who represented commercial fiction writers. Every last one of them. Some of them wrote ‘return to sender’ on the envelope without opening it, some read it and hated it, several of them read it and said they loved it but it would be impossible to find a publisher because I had no resume to speak of.

After opening the front door to find my manuscript sitting on the porch from the last remaining agent, I slid it under the spare bed, dusted myself off and forgot I had written a book. The submission process to agents had been exhausting and soul destroying. I couldn’t face beginning again with publishers. I figured I had no chance with publishers anyway if none of the agents wanted it. I was done.

“I’ll self publish it one day,” I thought. “One day but not now. I need to forget about it now and get on with my life.”

Then along came an email. It was from literary agent Jacinta Di Mase. Jacinta had considered Love at First Flight nearly two years earlier before deciding she didn’t want it. In her rejection letter, she’d said how hard it was to reject it because it was one of the best unsolicited works she’d seen. I was particularly devastated when Jacinta had initially turned it down, because I was convinced she would take it. It was just a strong gut feeling I had that she would be my agent. Always trust your gut!

Jacinta’s email now went something like this, “Hey, I still have that book of yours in my mind even though it’s been a couple of years since I read it. So, did you sell it yet? And if not, are you prepared to make the changes I want done? If you are, I’ll go in and bat for you with publishers.”

Excuse me, what? YES I would be prepared to make changes! I was prepared to sell her my next child if it meant she would go in to bat for me!

So I wrote draft seven. A year later, I resubmitted it to Jacinta. I hit send on the email and the next day headed off to Europe for the trip of a life-time with hubby and kids in tow and tried to put it out of my mind. If Jacinta wanted it, great, if not, I would self-publish it one day and sign the inside cover for my mum.

Four weeks later, we were in Cornwall on our “book tour of the UK”. We were visiting places based on books we loved. Cornwall was my choice because of my love of The Shellseekers by Rosamunde Pilcher which was set there. We had arrived the night before from London (where we did all things Harry Potter). I checked emails from home and wow! Jacinta loved the new version and she had already started the rounds of publishers. That this happened the day I was living out a long held dream to go shell-seeking just like a favourite character from a book was pure magic.

Fast forward eight months of nail-biting, finger crossing, acquisitions meetings after acquisitions meetings where it was rejected at the last minute, editors loving it and emailing us about just how much they loved it but then failing to convince the rest of their teams to love it. It was torture. And then along came an editor who was passionate enough to stand by the story until it had full approval from everyone in her publishing team. And that was Anna Valdinger at HarperCollins. Oh how I love her! Once I signed with HarperCollins, there were two more huge edits to do. But nine re-writes and almost six years from the day I first put pen to paper, I got there.

I had never written any fiction before this book. In fact I’d never planned on writing a book at all. But when this story came to me, I had to write it and keep writing it until others believed in it too. I’m so lucky that they did.

Love at First Light is available to purchase from

HarperCollins I Amazon I Amazon Au I Google Play I Kobo I iTunes

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Weekend Cooking: Food52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

 

wkendcooking

I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads  a semi-regular post at Book’d Out.

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Title: Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 recipes that will change the way you cook

Author: Kristen Miglore

Published: Ten Speed Press April 2015

Status: Read on April 10, 2015 — I own a copy  {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

“Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink the way we cook. They might involve an unexpectedly simple technique, debunk a kitchen myth, or apply a familiar ingredient in a new way. They’re handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacies. And, once we’ve folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too.”

Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook is written by Food52.com’s executive editor Kristen Miglore. Each of the featured recipes is of “Genius” stature, meaning they are first created by professional cooks and bakers, then submitted to Food52.com, a popular website which launched in 2009, by community members with their recommendation.

I was curious about the recipes included in this cookbook, and their claims of genius. I enjoy cooking but I’m all about keeping it simple – in both method and taste.

Honestly, the only recipes I will likely try from this collection are Gabrielle Hamilton’s Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, which recommends slathering the outside of the bread in mayonnaise, instead of butter, before grilling them in a non stick frying pan; the Tomato Sauce with butter and onion which makes a simple but tasty sounding pasta sauce; and Cheater Soft Serve Ice-cream.

However, more adventurous foodies should enjoy the range of recipes, many which are suitable for vegetarians, and should appeal to both enthusiastic beginner and intermediate home cooks.

Breakfasts like Poached Scrambled Eggs and Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake sound good. Mains range from Shrimp Grits to Sticky Balsamic Ribs, Cauliflower Steaks to Kale Panini, plus there are recipes for salads, soups and sides. Desserts include Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake and an interesting technique to create Caramelized White Chocolate.

While Food52.com has a regular ‘Genius’ column, it’s important to note that the author claims more than half of the recipes in this cookbook have never been published in the column before, so fans should still find something new to interest them.

The publisher’s book page shares a recipe for Chocolate Mousse from Herve This plus a ‘Look Inside’ feature.

Available to purchase from

Ten Speed Press I Amazon US I BookDepository I IndieBound

via Booko

Review: The Nutters by Kate Starmer

 

Title: The Nutters

Author: Kate Starmer

Published: Austin-Macauley Jan 2015

Status: Read from April 07 to 08, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Nutters introduces Albert, a former policeman medically retired from the force after being stabbed by a clown, and his wife, Rose, private investigators in the small English village of Little Wobble. Albert, missing the excitement of his days on the force, hoped to catch criminals but instead spends his days looking for missing garden gnomes, cats, and neighbours who aren’t really missing at all.
So the Nutters are eager when they are asked to investigate a case in Upper Wobble where the vicar’s wife is receiving hate mail, threatening to expose her secret, sordid past, and suddenly they have almost more excitement than they can handle.

This cozy mystery offers a cast of lively characters, featuring the Nutter family which includes Albert, Rose, also an agony aunt for the village newspaper, their three almost adult children and a lazy oversize mutt.

There is more than one mystery playing out in The Nutters. The vicar’s wife is being blackmailed, the publican seems to be cheating on his wife, a young woman is assaulted and another is being stalked. The mysteries are solidly plotted, and though the culprits are fairly easily guessed, I was surprised by at least one of the revelations.

Unfortunately my experience of reading The Nutters was marred by several issues with the writing. The sentence structure is often clumsy, tenses are muddled and the grammar is inconsistent. There is far too much ‘tell’ rather than ‘show’ and there are instances of repetition in the narrative.

It’s a shame, because I enjoyed the humour of The Nutters and think the story is genuinely entertaining, but the editing lets it down.

Available to purchase from

Austin Macauley I Amazon US I Amazon UK

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