It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

sundaypost

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s  absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR, and the Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Life…

I haven’t quite caught up yet after my unscheduled break but I’m making progress.

This past week has been a bit of a wild one with huge storms causing havoc across the state. Thankfully we were only on the fringes of the cell that caused widespread flash flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure, but many of my family members were in the thick of it so there were a few tense days and nights.

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Despite the drama of the week, on  Saturday Australian’s pulled together to commemorate ANZAC Day. 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 was accorded the honour of leading the ANZAC march in my country town, on the 100th anniversary of the landings, bearing the Australian flag, while my oldest son wore his grandfather’s service medals as he and his brother marched with their cub troop. Lest we forget.

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What I Read Last Week

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indriðason

Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

The Falls by Cathryn Hein

Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Captive Prince by C.S Pacat (DNF)

Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Inside The O’Briens by Lisa Genova ★★★★

Review & Giveaway: The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon ★★

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

Review & Giveaway: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden ★★★1/2

Review: The Falls by Cathryn Hein ★★★1/2

Review: Gallipoli Street by Mary-Anne O’Connor ★★

Stuff on Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

 

 What I Am Reading Today

On a searing August day, Melisandre Harris Dawes committed the unthinkable: she left her two-month-old daughter locked in a car while she sat nearby on the shores of the Patapsco River. Melisandre was found not guilty by reason of criminal insanity, although there was much skepticism about her mental state. Freed, she left the country, her husband and her two surviving children, determined to start over. But now Melisandre has returned Baltimore to meet with her estranged teenage daughters and wants to film the reunion for a documentary. The problem is, she relinquished custody and her ex, now remarried, isn’t sure he approves. Now that’s she’s a mother herself–short on time, patience–Tess Monaghan wants nothing to do with a woman crazy enough to have killed her own child. But her mentor and close friend Tyner Gray, Melisandre’s lawyer, has asked Tess and her new partner, retired Baltimore P.D. homicide detective Sandy Sanchez, to assess Melisandre’s security needs. As a former reporter and private investigator, Tess tries to understand why other people break the rules and the law. Yet the imperious Melisandre is something far different from anyone she’s encountered. A decade ago, a judge ruled that Melisandre was beyond rational thought. But was she? Tess tries to ignore the discomfort she feels around the confident, manipulative Melisandre. But that gets tricky after Melisandre becomes a prime suspect in a murder. Yet as her suspicions deepen, Tess realizes that just as she’s been scrutinizing Melisandre, a judgmental stalker has been watching her every move as well. . . .

 

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Tess is in trouble. Stuck on a farm outside Byron Bay, cut off from family and friends, Tess knows she must find a way to escape her violent partner to save her life and the life of her child … A chance meeting offers a way out – but can she ever trust again? Tess embarks on a desperate road trip back to the heart of her past. But what will be waiting for her at home? Will her family forgive her – and can she forgive them?

Sometime this season… The secret keeper must tell. The betrayed must trust. The hurt must heal.  When it seems everything Paige trusts is beginning to betray her, she leaves her husband at home and sets off on a road trip with six year old Matilda, and Nana Alice in tow. But stranded amid rising floodwaters, on a detour to the tiny town of Coolabah Tree Gully, Paige discovers the greatest betrayal of all happened there twenty years earlier. Someone knows that truth can wash away the darkest shadows, but… Are some secrets best kept for the sake of others?

Who is Alice Salmon? Student. Journalist. Daughter. Lover of late nights, hater of deadlines. That girl who drowned last year. Gone doesn’t mean forgotten. Everyone’s life leaves a trace behind. But it’s never the whole story.

Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father and his geriatric Alsatian dog. The house backing on to theirs is sold and as she watches the old furniture being removed, she is taken back to a summer in the 1970’s when she was almost sixteen and this small out-of-town estate was an enclave for women and children while the men are mysterious shadows who leave every day for the outside world. The women are isolated but keep their loneliness and frustrations hidden behind a veneer of suburban respectability. When an American divorcee and her daughter move into the estate this veneer begins to crack. The women learn how to socialise, how to drink martinis, how to care less about their wifely and maternal duties. While the women are distracted, Elaine and her friends find their own entry into the adult world. The result is a tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine’s life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile. Insightful and full of suspense, this is an uncompromising portrayal of the suburbs and the cruelties brought about by the demands of respectability.

Angel Crawford is a loser. Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she’s a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who’s been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken. That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in an horrible car crash, but she doesn’t have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there’s a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it’s an offer she doesn’t dare refuse. Before she knows it she’s dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she’s hungriest! Angel’s going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn’t, she’s dead meat. Literally.

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 Enter to WIN:  The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon and

Enter to WIN: Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum by Georgia Madden

(Entries Close May 3rd. Australian residents only)

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s  absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR, please join me!

Life…

So it’s been a week or two (if you noticed). I have few excuses for my unscheduled break other than the chaos of the school holidays, an unhealthy obsession with Netflix (specifically The Vampire Diaries) and general apathy brought on by aging (I turned 42 last Tuesday).

I read, but posted only a couple of reviews, I’m going to do my best to get caught up ASAP.

What I Read Last Week
(and the week before)

Missing You by Kylie Kaden

The Nutters by Kate Starmer

The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

Food 52: Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Death in the Rainy Season by Anna Jacquiery

Love at First Flight by Tess Woods

The Liar by Nora Roberts

Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe

 

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

AWW Feature: Kylie Kaden and Book Nerds Anonymous

Review: Missing You by Kyle Kaden ★★★★

Review: The Nutters by Kate Starmer ★★

Weekend Cooking: Food 52: Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

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

Review: Love at First Flight by Tess Woods ★★★

Weekend Cooking: Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe ★★★★

 What I Am Reading Today

The loner Erlendur has recently joined the police force as a young officer. The beat on the streets in Reykjavik is busy: traffic accidents, theft, domestic violence, contraband… And an unexplained death. When a tramp he met regularly on the night shift is found drowned in a ditch no one seems to care. But his fate haunts Erlendur and drags him inexorably into the strange and dark underworld of the city. – Features the young Erlendur: “Reykjavik Nights “is a prequel to the long-running, acclaimed series that recently concluded with “Strange Shores.”

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

An idyllic suburban town. A devastating discovery. Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever. At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she wound up among the fallen leaves. But among the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions. When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town’s local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried so hard to bury. But the history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation unravels a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale’s white picket fences.

Successful hubbie? Tick. Facebook-worthy baby? Tick. Bikini-body six weeks after giving birth? Um … not so much. Fashion PR exec Ally Bloom got her happy ending. Okay, her marriage might be showing the odd crack, her battleaxe mother-in-law might have come to stay, and she might not be the yummy mummy she’d imagined, but it’s nothing a decent night’s sleep and a firm commitment to a no-carb diet won’t fix. But when Ally returns to work and finds she’ll be reporting to a 22-year-old airhead, she decides to turn her back on life as a professional fashionista and embrace her inner earth mama instead. So it’s out with the Louboutins and champagne and in with the sensible flats and coffee mornings with the Mummy Mafia. From attending her first grown-up dinner party only to discover that placenta is top of the menu to controlling her monster crush on local playgroup hottie Cameron, Ally must find her feet in the brave new world of the stay-at-home mum.

For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future. Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again. But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country. For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

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.

seasonsalt_swag

eclecticreader15

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

I hope you have enjoyed the Easter long weekend. We had plans but due to poor weather and illness ours has been quiet, and I’ve been taking it easy.

*Ive just learned that Sheila tragically lost her son as a result of a car accident over the weekend. I extend my sincere sympathies to her and her family at this difficult time *

It’s the first Monday of the month so time to check in with my challenge progress.

SNAG-0035

The Eclectic Reader Challenge 4/12

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 26 /50

Aussie Author Challenge 4/12

Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 2/12

What’s In A Name? Challenge 4/6

What I Read Last Week

The Road to Hope by Rachael Johns

Normal by Graeme Cameron

Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith

After Birth by Elisa Albert

Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: The Road to Hope by Rachael Johns ★★★★

Review: Normal by Graeme Cameron ★★★★

Review:  Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith ★★★★1/2

Reblog: Let’s Talk Books at The Never Ending Bookshelf

Review: After Birth by Elisa Albert ★★★

Review:  Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler ★★1/2

 What I Am Reading Today

‘Our lives were built around the strength of a kiss between strangers. Yet seven years on, look where it led us . . .’ When Aisha met Ryan she fell hard for his good looks and easy charm. Why worry that he didn’t want children or a 9 to 5 job? Nothing and no one would come between them. But with the birth of their high-needs son, Eli, their extraordinary love is shackled into an ordinary life, their passion blunted by responsibility. Until Ryan can’t take it anymore. Then, following a mysterious phone call late one night, Aisha leaves four-year-old Eli in the care of her elderly father Patrick – and doesn’t come back. As Patrick struggles with the grandson he barely knows or understands, his frustration with his missing daughter and absent son-in-law quickly turns to fear. Particularly when blood is found in Aisha’s abandoned car . . .

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Take a medically retired copper put out of action by a killer clown, add his eager but easily distracted wife, sprinkle in small town jealousies, secret pasts, blackmail, unrequited love and top off with a lot of food, wine, tea and cakes and Albert and Rose Nutter’s first case as private detectives is all set to be a twisting, turning, calorie-filled adventure.
In the quiet village of Upper Wobble, the vicar’s wife is receiving hate mail, someone else is being blackmailed, and the most eligible male in town is turning women’s heads. Enter the Nutters, incognito, to get to the bottom of it all. Meanwhile in the neighbouring village of Little Wobble, something far more dangerous than all the blackmailers in leafy England is on the hunt, and his target may be much closer to their home than they know.

Christmas Livingstone has 10 rules for happiness. Nurturing the senses every day, doing what you love, and sharing joy with others are some of the rules but the most important for her is number 10 – ‘Absolutely no romantic relationships’. Her life is good. In her enchantingly seductive shop, The Chocolate Apothecary, she tempers chocolate and creates handmade pieces; her friends and family surround her; and her secret life of wish granting brings joy to herself and others. She doesn’t need a handsome botanist ace who knows everything about cacao to walk into her life. One who has the nicest grandmother intent on interfering, who’s adopted a gorgeous rescue dog, and who needs her help to write a book on her passion, chocolate. She really doesn’t need any of that at all. Or does she?

 

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing? As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia; the rainy season. When a French man, Hugo Quercy, is found brutally murdered, Commandant Serge Morel finds his holiday drawn to an abrupt halt. Quercy – dynamic, well-connected – was the magnetic head of a humanitarian organisation which looked after the area’s neglected youth. Opening his investigation, the Parisian detective soon finds himself buried in one of his most challenging cases yet. Morel must navigate this complex and politically sensitive crime in a country with few forensic resources, and armed with little more than a series of perplexing questions: what was Quercy doing in a hotel room under a false name? What is the significance of his recent investigations into land grabs in the area? And who could have broken into his home the night of the murder? Becoming increasingly drawn into Quercy’s circle of family and friends – his adoring widow, his devoted friends and bereft colleagues – Commandant Morel will soon discover that in this lush land of great beauty and immense darkness, nothing is quite as it seems . . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

 As expected the past week has been a busy one. Just four days of term remain before the children have a two week holiday for Easter. We don’t have any plans as yet.. though we might go camping for a few days.

I’m proud to share that my senior basketball team earned 3rd place in the Grand Finals on Saturday, they played a great game. My junior team also played hard and placed 4th. Later that afternoon the boys took part in a clinic with the Brisbane Spartans, an Australian NBL team and had a great time.

Spartans

What I Read Last Week

Turtle Reef by Jennifer Scoullar

The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez

His Other House by Sarah Armstrong

Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Turtle Reef by Jennifer Scoullar ★★★1/2

Review: The Wisdom of Perversity by  Rafael Yglesias ★★★1/2

Review:  The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez ★★1/2

Review: His Other House by Sarah Armstrong  ★★★★

Weekend Cooking:  Pretty Ugly by Kirker Butler ★★★

Stuff On Sundays: a Day in the Life of…

 What I Am Reading Today

Nurse Lauren Simpson is known in Hope Junction for the wrong reasons – and she’s over it. Watching the man she’s always loved marry someone else is the last straw – she decides to get out of Hope. But her resolve is tested when the hot new locum doctor arrives in town. Doctor Tom Lewis also has skeletons in his closet – including a painful breakup and devastating family news. He’s hit the road with his vintage ute and surfboard, to travel the outback and live in the moment. When Tom and Lauren meet the attraction is instant, but for Lauren Tom threatens to be just another fling and Tom has his own reasons for hesitating. Everyone else – their friends and patients – can see how perfect they are together, but just what will it take for them to admit this to themselves? A brand new Hope Junction story of fresh starts and second chances.

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

 He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.  What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will—one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal… and it works. Perfectly. Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room… the others. He doesn’t need any of them anymore. He needs only her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem—he still has someone trapped in his garage. Discovering his humanity couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not-bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other. When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked…although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey’s actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be.

Sometimes I’m with the baby and I think: you’re my heart and my soul, and I would die for you. Other times I think: tiny moron, leave me the fuck alone.  A year has passed since Ari gave birth and still she can’t locate herself in her altered universe. Sleep-deprived, lonely and unprepared, she struggles through the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights. Her own mother long dead and her girlhood friendships faded, she is a woman in need. When Mina – older, alone, pregnant – moves to town, Ari sees hope of a comrade-in-arms. Perhaps the hostile terrain could be more easily navigable together. With purifying anger and outrageous humour, Elisa Albert unleashes on a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. And as she defines the raw experience of motherhood, Albert offers a hilarious and devastatingly honest examination of how we become the women we are.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing? As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Cursed to be a jinni for a thousand years, Leila nears the end of her servitude—only to be bound once again against her will. Will she risk all to be human? Born in ancient Persia, Leila turned to her house Jinni, Kouros, for help escaping an arranged marriage. Kouros did make it impossible for her to marry—by cursing Leila to live a thousand years as a Jinni herself. If she can remain unBound, Leila’s curse will soon be over. But Ozan Sawyer, a Magi with the ability to See, Call, and Bind jinn has other plans.
Oz needs Leila to help him penetrate Pittsburgh’s steel-soaked magic, a juice potent but poisonous to supernatural creatures, in order to find a missing girl with her own mysterious connection to Kouros. Unfortunately for Leila, becoming Bound to Oz may risk more than just her chance to be human once more—it could risk her very soul…

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Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

 Another busy week has flown by. As the end of the first school term approaches, basketball for the boys is winding down with the finals to be played on Saturday, but soccer training has already started for the winter semester. Aleah’s first months of high school has gone smoothly with the teachers I met with this week singing her praises while she was enjoying her year 7 camp. Scouts and cubs also continue to keep us busy while Simariah is juggling a new job with training for her Gymnastics meet in Finland in August. My husband also has finally bought his own Archery bow which means he is disappearing to the range whenever he can.

 I have to be honest, I’ve struggled this week to find time to read and blog. One of the days I might actually get caught up… maybe some time tonight after basketball training, dinner, scouts and gym.

What I Read Last Week

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

A Time of Secrets by Deborah Burrows

Life and Death by Michael Robotham

The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review:  The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman ★★★★

Review: The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer ★★

Review: A Time of Secrets by Deborah Burrows ★★★★

Review: Life and Death by Michael Robotham  ★★★★1/2

Weekend Cooking:  The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi ★★★★

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

 What I Am Reading Today

Unlucky-in-love zoologist Zoe King has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start. Zoe is immediately charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions. Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper, so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself. But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

  I should have told. Julie’s right: I would have saved dozens of others. Jeff, Julie, Sam, the academy kids, the Huck Finn boys, everyone else was ignorant or greedy or scared or confused or overwhelmed by bullies, but I was strong enough—I could’ve pushed him away. I did push him away. I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.  Brian and Jeff were best friends, growing up together in New York City in the late 1960s. Then something happened that drove a wedge between them, ending both their friendship and their childhood, something that neither ever spoke about . . . at least until their shared secret resurfaced some forty years later, forcing them to reunite and, along with Jeff’s cousin Julie, to face the consequences of their years of silence.

Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and his five favourite books – so he makes sure he has packed both after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte When nobody has heard from him in three months, his father knows something must be very wrong. Do not fear, Inspector Manchego is on the case. No, not the cheese. Manchego, as in the most valiant Don Quijote de la Mancha. Lacking a horse but with hapless derring-do, Manchego gets to work unravelling the mystery of the quintessential Englishman’s disappearance. But there to block him at every turn are the five fiery and closeknit Spanish women who run Librarte, and who’ll do anything to keep their jobs – even if it involves subterfuge, the long-lost poems of Federico García Lorca and a journey to the gypsy heart of Andalucía . . .

He was dismayed how readily he took to lying. He’d always thought of it as a decisive abandonment of the truth. Instead, he realised, it was simply a matter of one word slipping into the place of another.’ Dr Quinn Davidson and his wife Marianna have endured years of unsuccessful IVF and several miscarriages, and Quinn can’t face another painful attempt to conceive. Marianna is desperate to be a mother and their marriage is feeling the strain. At a small-town practice a few hours from their home, Quinn meets Rachel, the daughter of one of his patients. Drawn to each other, it’s not long before they find themselves in a passionate affair and Quinn realises he must choose between the two women. Then Marianna announces a surprise natural conception, news that will change the course of all their lives. Set in the lush Australian subtropics, this taut emotional drama poses questions about moral courage and accountability, and asks whether love means always telling the truth

Nurse Lauren Simpson is known in Hope Junction for the wrong reasons – and she’s over it. Watching the man she’s always loved marry someone else is the last straw – she decides to get out of Hope. But her resolve is tested when the hot new locum doctor arrives in town. Doctor Tom Lewis also has skeletons in his closet – including a painful breakup and devastating family news. He’s hit the road with his vintage ute and surfboard, to travel the outback and live in the moment. When Tom and Lauren meet the attraction is instant, but for Lauren Tom threatens to be just another fling and Tom has his own reasons for hesitating. Everyone else – their friends and patients – can see how perfect they are together, but just what will it take for them to admit this to themselves? A brand new Hope Junction story of fresh starts and second chances.

From a producer of Family Guy, a satirical look at a dysfunctional family complete with a stage mom, 9 year-old pageant queen, philandering husband, his girlfriend, and the crazy grandmother Miranda Miller’s mission in life is to make sure her nine-year-old daughter, Bailey, continues to be one of the most successful child pageant contestants in the southern United States. Lately, that mission’s been difficult. Bailey has been secretly binge eating to gain weight so Miranda will let her retire; and the reality show Miranda been trying to set up for Bailey (and herself) just went to their biggest rival, Starr Kennedy and her tyrannical stage mother, Theresa. But Miranda’s got an ace up her sleeve. She’s seven months pregnant with her fourth child, a girl, thank God, and Miranda is going to make damn sure that this one will be a pageant champion, too. Unbeknownst to her, Miranda’s husband Ray, a nurse with a hobby of popping random pills, has knocked up Courtney, the less than brilliant seventeen-year-old orphan granddaughter of one of his hospice patients. With a wife, a mistress, two jobs, three kids (and two more on the way), a mountain of debt, and no real friends, Ray is desperately hoping his life puts itself back in order. Meanwhile, the Millers’ two boys are being “homeschooled” by Miranda’s mother, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann), a well-intentioned widow who spends most of her time playing solitaire and planning a murder with Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. They’re just your typical dysfunctional American family.

  ***********

Congratulations to the winners of She’s Having Her Baby:

Linda H; Jan O; Amanda N; Tash B; Kirsty A

Thanks for stopping by!

Weekend Cooking: The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi

wkendcooking

I’ve decided to make the Weekend Cooking meme, hosted by Beth Fish Reads  a regular monthly post at Book’d Out. Cooking is something I enjoy and I have been making more of an effort again lately, so I am looking forward to participating.

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Title: The Umbrian Supper Club

Author: Marlena de Blasi

Published: Allen & Unwin March 2015

Status: Read from March 20 to 21, 2015 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

“A good supper…restores to us the small delights that the day ransacks. Through crisis and catastrophe, and rare moments of uninterrupted joy, it’s the round, clean and imperishable wisdom that sustains them: cook well, eat well and talk well with people who are significant to your life.”

Every Thursday night for decades a small group of Umbrian women, occasionally accompanied by the their husbands or lovers, have met in an old stone house belonging to Miranda to share their supper. Under sheaves of dried olive branches, seated on plank benches, they have laughed, cried, cooked and eaten together.

Befriended by Miranda, Marlena De Blasi, an American chef, journalist and food critic who has made her home in rural Orvieto, was invited to join the women, taking a place at the table every Thursday, delighting in both the food, and the stories each woman has to tell.

In The Umbrian Supper Club, Marlena shares what she learned of the lives of the four women members – Miranda, Ninuccia, Paolina and Gilda, as she joined with each in preparing Thursday night suppers over a period of four years.

The women’s stories are moving and fascinating, aged between 52 and 80 something, they have lived full lives. They have variously been wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and lovers, they have endured heartache, loss, poverty and celebrated love, friends, and food. They speak, as the gather, prepare and cook their supper of childhood, family, aging, sexuality, of the evil eye, the Mafia, religion, of life and death.

“‘I wish life could end all even, like a supper when there’s that last little roasted potato with a single needle of rosemary clinging to its crust and the end of a sausage, charred to a crunch, a heel of bread, the last long pull of wine. Even. Everything in harmony. I have always preferred that last bit of my supper to the first, the beginning being fraught with hunger, the last with serenity. As life should be. Every supper can be a whole life'”

Full of mouthwatering descriptions of food preparation and feasting, The Umbrian Supper Club will delight any foodie. Crusty bread freshly baked in a woodfire oven is dipped in oil pressed by a donkey driven mill, pasta is simmered in litres of local red wine, thyme leaves are stripped from their branches to flavour scored duck breasts.
Several full recipes of traditional Umbrian dishes, such as Zucca Arrostita and La Crostata di Pere e Pecorino adapted for the modern cook, are included, but plenty of cooking advice is informally dispensed through the pages.

“In a basket on the worktable there are perhaps a dozen heads of garlic, the purple colour of the cloves bright beneath papery skins. Slapping head after head with the flat of the cleaver, she scrapes the smashed, unpeeled cloves into a five-litre jug of new oil in which she’s earlier stuffed leaves of wild sage, wild fennel flowers, rosemary,a fistful of crushed, very hot chillies. She is building one of her famous potions. Violence, she calls it. She uses it to gloss vegetables before tumbling them into the roasting pan, to massage into loins of pork and the breasts and thighs of her own fat chickens, to drizzle over burning hot charcoaled beef and veal.”

The Umbrian Supper Club is a delightful true story of family, friendship and food.

Available to purchase from

Allen & Unwin Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Seasoned Traveller 2015

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

buried-in-books

What I Read Last Week

Razorhurst by Justine Larbelestier

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

She’s Having Her Baby by Lauren Sams

Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Resistance by John Birmingham

Bad Behaviour by Rebecca Starford

 

  New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Razorhurst by Justine Larbelestier ★★★★1/2

Review: The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah ★★

AWW Feature & Giveaway:  Lauren Sams on Writing

Review & Giveaway: She’s Having Her Baby by Lauren Sams ★★★★

Review: Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway ★★★★

Review: Resistance by John Birmingham ★★★

Stuff On Sundays: Eclectic Reader 2015 Recommendations Part 4

 

 What I Am Reading Today

Girl meets boy. They fall in love, and they marry. For thirty years they share one another’s lives. That should have been the end of the story. I thought I knew that man. I thought I had been shown into every corner of his mind. I’d shared every fear, every hidden longing. I thought he kept no secrets from me. Turns out I never knew him at all.

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here. And now they are all his mother has left. Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity. When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son… But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable? Or is he something far, far worse?

1943 is a dangerous time to fall in love… In wartime Melbourne loose lips sink ships, so when Australian Women’s Army sergeant Stella Aldridge overhears soldiers whispering about a revenge killing, she follows her instincts to investigate, despite finding herself drawn to one of the soldiers, the enigmatic Staff Sergeant Eric Lund. But the world is at war and there is little time for romance. Someone in the Australian Intelligence Bureau is trading secrets and it’s up to Stella and her uncompromising superior officer, Lieutenant Nick Ross, to find the traitor. When Eric’s team is scheduled to be deployed in a dangerous mission to the South West Pacific, Stella races to uncover the truth or risk not only Eric’s life, but the security of Australia itself. Torn between protecting the ones she loves and her duty to her country, Stella chooses to pursue the truth at all costs. Even if it means putting herself in the firing line…

 

 Why would a man who has served a long prison sentence escape the day before he’s due to be released? Audie was sentenced to 10 years for a robbery in which four people died, including two members of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered from the robbery, and everybody believes Audie knows where the money is. For 10 years Audie has been beaten, stabbed, and threatened by inmates and guards, all desperate to know the secret. The day before he is due to be released, Audie suddenly vanishes.  The hunt for Audie, and the money, is on. But Audie’s not running to save his own life–instead, he’s trying to save someone else. In what promises to be his most popular thriller yet, Robotham has created the ultimate underdog hero, an honorable criminal shrouded in mystery and ready to lead readers on a remarkable chase.

He was dismayed how readily he took to lying. He’d always thought of it as a decisive abandonment of the truth. Instead, he realised, it was simply a matter of one word slipping into the place of another.’ Dr Quinn Davidson and his wife Marianna have endured years of unsuccessful IVF and several miscarriages, and Quinn can’t face another painful attempt to conceive. Marianna is desperate to be a mother and their marriage is feeling the strain. At a small-town practice a few hours from their home, Quinn meets Rachel, the daughter of one of his patients. Drawn to each other, it’s not long before they find themselves in a passionate affair and Quinn realises he must choose between the two women. Then Marianna announces a surprise natural conception, news that will change the course of all their lives. Set in the lush Australian subtropics, this taut emotional drama poses questions about moral courage and accountability, and asks whether love means always telling the truth

‘The only sauce is olive oil – green as sun-struck jade – splashed in small lustrous puddles, through which one skates the flesh, the fat, the bones, the potatoes, the bread. In the last, best drops, one skates a finger.’ Luscious and evocative, The Umbrian Supper Club recounts the stories of a small group of Umbrian women who – sometimes with their men and, as often, without them – gather in an old stone house in the hills above Orvieto to cook, to sit down to a beautiful supper, to drink their beloved local wines. And to talk. During the gathering, the preparation, the cooking and the eating, they recount the memories and experiences of their gastronomic lives and, as much, of their more personal histories. For a period of four years, it was Marlena de Blasi’s task, her pleasure, to cook for the Supper Club – to choose the elements for supper, to plan the menu and, with the help of one or another of the women in the club, to prepare the meal. What she learnt, what they cooked and ate and drank and how they talked is the fundamental stuff of this book. Including a dozen recipes, drawn from the Supper Club, The Umbrian Supper Club is a delight to read and to taste.

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Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The Its Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey.

Life…

The past week has been stressful for one reason and another, and my brain hurts.

The bright spot was celebrating my great aunts 90th birthday with family, despite the 6 hour round trip. Aunty Dot is an amazing woman.

auntydot90

What I Read Last Week

Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp

The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman

Rose River by Margareta Osborn

Witch Upon a Star by Jennifer Harlow

Cranky Ladies of History by Tehani Wessley

 

  New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: Yes, Chef! by Lisa Joy ★★

AWW Feature: Amanda Ortlepp and Claiming Noah

Review: Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp ★★★★

Review: The Reluctant Midwife by Patricia Harman ★★★★

Review: Rose River by Margareta Osborn ★★★1/2

Review: Witch Upon a Star by Jennifer Harlow ★★1/2

Review: Nothing Sacred by David Thorne ★★

International Women’s Day: Cranky Ladies of History by Tehani Wessley ★★★★

 

 What I Am Reading Today

Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce.  Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

 

Georgie Henderson doesn’t want to have kids, but her best friend, Nina Doherty, has wanted to have a baby for as long as she can remember. Sadly, Nina’s uterus refuses to cooperate. One drunken evening, Nina asks Georgie for the ultimate favour: would she carry a baby for her? Georgie says yes – and spends the next nine months wondering why!
With intense bacon-and-egg roll cravings and distant memories of what her feet look like, Georgie tries to keep it all together in her dream job as the editor of Jolie magazine. Her love life’s a mess – and sauvignon blanc’s off the menu – leaving Georgie to deal with twists in her life she never expected.

Hanna Schutt never suspected that her younger daughter’s happiness would lead to her husband’s death and the destruction of their family. When Dawn brings her new boyfriend home from college for a visit, her parents and sister try to hide their doubts because they’re glad that Dawn – always an awkward child – appears to have grown into a confident, mature young woman in her relationship with Rud. But when Hanna and her husband, Joe, are beaten savagely in their bed, Rud becomes the chief suspect and stands trial for Joe’s murder.
Claiming her boyfriend’s innocence, Dawn estranges herself from her mother, who survived the attack with serious injuries and impaired memory. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to the family home saying she wants to support her mother, Hanna decides to try to remember details of that traumatic night so she can testify to keep her husband’s murderer in jail, never guessing that the process might cause her to question everything she thought she knew about her daughter.

Ivo fell for her. He fell for a girl he can’t get back. Now he’s hoping for something. While he waits he plays a game: He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away. He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her. But he doesn’t have long. And he still has one thing left to do …

It should have been a time of acquiring confidence, building self respect and independence, of fostering a connection with the natural world through long hikes…  A gripping, compulsively readable memoir of bullying at an elite country boarding school.

A dragon brings down the Vice President’s plane, a monster army is camped outside Omaha, and an empath demon springs an undercover operation in New York. New Orleans was just the beginning. New and different demons are breaking through all over America, and Dave Hooper has a new enemy with more guile and guts than the celebrity superhero, still stumbling in his role as Champion. While his agent fields offers for movies and merchandise, Dave is tasked with ending a siege in Omaha, saving his friends and deciphering the underrealms’ plans to take over the earth. As an ancient and legion evil threatens to destroy mankind, Dave has to decide what kind of man he wants to be and the nature of his role in this new world. He may not be the hero humanity deserves, but he’s the only one we’ve got.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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