The Bone Broth Secret: 3 Stars

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Bone Broth Secret: A Culinary Adventure in Health, Beauty, and Longevity
Authors: Louise Hay, Heather Dane
File Size: 25406 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Hay House, Inc. (January 5, 2016)
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Source: Hay House via NetGalley

Lots of Blurb from the publisher: 
When a forgotten, time-honored traditional food is rediscovered for its health and beauty benefits, we all pay attention. In this one-of-a-kind culinary adventure, internationally renowned self-help pioneer Louise Hay and “21st-century medicine woman” Heather Dane join together to explore a fresh and fun take on the art of cooking with bone broth, as well as the science behind its impressive curative applications.

Chock-full of research, how-tos, and tips, this inventive cookbook offers a practical, playful, and delicious approach to improving your digestion, energy, and moods. With over 100 gut-healing recipes for broths, elixirs, main dishes, breads, desserts—and even beauty remedies and cocktails—Louise and Heather will show you how to add a dose of nourishment into every aspect of your diet. You’ll also get entertaining stories along the way that remind you to add joy back onto your plate and into your life. Plus, you’ll find out how Louise not only starts her day with bone broth, but uses it as an ingredient in many of her meals as well—discovering why it is one of her secrets to vibrant wellness and longevity.

“Wherever I go, I’m asked, ‘How do you stay so healthy and young?’ Or I’m complimented on how beautiful my skin, hair, and nails look. I always say that the key is positive thoughts and healthy food. For many years, the staple of my diet has been bone broth. My doctors keep pointing out that my blood tests and other health-test results are better than people half my age. I tell them, ‘I’m a big, strong, healthy girl!’ Then I talk about bone broth. I want everyone to know about it because I believe it is an integral part of my health, energy, and vitality.”
— Louise Hay

To say that authors Louise Hay and Heather Dane are strong proponents of the health giving benefits of bone broth is very much an understatement. Making bone broth has long gone out of fashion, after all, who has the time?
However, anyone caught up in the resurgence of this health sustaining super-food and is wanting to give it a go, then they would do well to read this book.
Apart from the recipes, the authors teach us how the use of modern equipment makes this task far more feasible, even for busy people. this is good news considering some of these broths take days to make.

The book is laid out quite well beginning with the history and the science behind bone broth. What it is, and why it is considered such a restorative.
They provide healing affirmations specific to particular health conditions. I do not find affirmations particularly inspiring myself, but I know that many people do.

Next comes equipment, refreshingly basic, nothing fancy required and nothing too expensive other than, perhaps, a large slow cooker/crockpot.
 Next we learn about the different types of broth and how to choose the bones. 
Then comes a “getting started” section which pretty much repeats much of what has been written, but in more detail.

Part Two repeats a bit more, then we get to what to actually do with your broth.
There are some really surprising recipes here, that is for a bone broth book, but you will find out the hows and whys. There are desserts, drinks, cocktails and some really sumptuous but rather complicated (for me) fine dining style recipes.

If you want to make your own beauty products these are included too, but don’t worry, you won’t have to use the gelatine hard won from the bones, the packet stuff is fine. Using collagen to improve hair, skin and nails is all the go these days, the authors explain how it works and, better still how to make your own

What I did not like so much:
I found the book a little difficult to navigate due mostly to similar information being disseminated. The text is clunky and it doesn't flow and this spoiled the reading experience. Rigorous editing would polish up this book beautifully.
Source: Review copy provided by Hay House via NetGalley

About the Authors (via
Louise Hay, the author of the international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, is a metaphysical lecturer and teacher with more than 50 million books sold worldwide. For more than 30 years, Louise has helped people throughout the world discover and implement the full potential of their own creative powers for personal growth and self-healing. Visit

Heather Dane is a certified health coach specializing in applying functional medicine and nutrigenomics protocols to resolve chronic conditions. She has worked with many of the great minds in medicine, natural health, nutrition, and energy healing, and designs delicious recipes to nourish body and soul. Visit

The Dress Shop of Dreams: 5 STARS

Written by: Menna van Praag
Narrated by: Jane Carr
Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:05/05/2016
Publisher: Lamplight Audio
Source: Purchased Copy

Publishers Summary
Since her parents' mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta's dress shop.
Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta's charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passers-by, but the colourfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets - with just a few stitches from Etta's needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman's deepest desires….

A Serendipitous Purchase ...

This book is so very different to my usual crime fiction picks that even I wondered why I bought it. The thing is, I was in a bit of a reading slump, the audiobook on my app was awful, in both content and quality, so I returned it to Audible, something I rarely do.
I opened my Audible Australia page ready to spend my new credit and there, floating along on the slider, was this book entitled “The Dress Shop of Dreams” and I was, quite simply, drawn to it. 
A whimsical turn in behaviour for me I can tell you!

I was rapidly immersed in this entrancing story of clever Cora the scientist who lived for two things; her work and to discover the truth surrounding the death of her parents. Her Aunt Etta who, in her own special way, liked nothing better than to make right the troubled lives of others, and Walt, hapless Walt who had loved Cora since childhood.

The most fascinating aspect of the story is Etta’s Gift. She would just know if any of her customers were in need, she would sew her little red star into a dress and persuade them to try it on. Immediately they would feel transformed, and able to do whatever it took to change their lives for the better.
The story is, in fact a little more complex than it at first seems, there’s a little magic, a little love and a little mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming story and was very happy to sit back and let the mystical tale wash over me.

Narrated by the fabulous Jane Carr, a voice that most listeners will recognise. Jane Carr has an acting resume as long as your arm including many popular television series.
I can’t fault her performance, she is a true professional . Every character is given a distinct and appropriate voice, eliminating any doubt as to who was speaking, that is a huge plus. Pacing is perfect, and she brings a sparkling vitality to the words and so bringing the story to life

I’m glad that I disregarded the “chicklit” label!
This book earned 5 Stars for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure it brought.

Book source: Own Copy

The Trespasser 4 STARS

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Trespasser
Series: Dublin Murder Squad 6
Author: Tana French
Imprint: Hachette Australia: October 2016
ISBN: 9781444755626
Page Count: 469
4 Stars

Publishers Summary
Antoinette Conway, the tough, abrasive detective from The Secret Place, is still on the Murder squad, but only just.

She's partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that's going well - but the rest of her working life isn't.
Antoinette doesn't play well with others, and there's a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers' tiff, but gradually they realise there's more going on: someone on their own squad is trying to push them towards the obvious solution, away from nagging questions. They have to work out whether this is just an escalation in the drive to get rid of her-or whether there's something deeper and darker going on.

Conway and Moran catch the call for a case that at first glance appears to be a straightforward act of domestic violence gone bad. 
The victim is Aislinn Murray, picture perfect even in death, so pretty that Conway likens her to “dead Barbie”.  
As she takes a long look at her face, Conway has the strange feeling that she has met Aislinn, that she had asked for Conway's help, but capturing that memory proved elusive, she filed it away in her head to examine later.

Everything in Aislinn’s perfect little cottage seemed to set up for an intimate dinner for two, table set, food in the oven, vegetables prepared. Her phone messages to her friend confirmed that yes, she was expecting a guest who, of course, was nowhere in sight.
Two little details caused Conway and Moran to believe it may be more than the result of a domestic argument gone awry. There were indicators that the scene had been altered,  someone had gone to the trouble of thoroughly cleansing the cottage, and they had even turned off the oven at the main power point for no obvious reason. Nobody does that.

When they speak to Lucy, Aislinn’s girlfriend, she responds in a manner which doesn’t really match the circumstances, so that is a bit weird too.

They visit Rory, the expected dinner guest, who, because of the circumstances plus his social ineptitude, more or less sets himself up as prime suspect.

This looks like it might turn in to their very first juicy, proper murder case. Conway and Moran are at the bottom of the pecking order as far as case allocation goes, so Conway can’t help but think of this as being the long awaited big break.
However, here’s the rub, as backup they have been allocated Detective Breslin, a smooth operator with whom Conway has issues. Her fear is that Breslin will take over, strangely, he doesn’t, instead, he is oddly helpful at first. It soon becomes obvious though that he wants to nail Rory for the murder in spite of the reservations held by Conway and Moran.
Soon Conway is discovering/imaging all the ways in which Breslin is manipulating her. Moran is the voice of reason, so reasonable in fact that Conway isn’t so sure about him either.

Now anyone who has read the series so far will know that while the author might well be providing clues for the reader, like a good mystery writer should, she is also, in many little ways, leading us up the garden path, this makes for an enjoyable and challenging mystery.

What I did not enjoy so much:
Conway is the ubiquitous damaged cop, a character much loved by many but the concept is wearing a bit thin for me.  My goodness though, she is horrible. She sure lets us know that she is one angry woman!  Nasty and vindictive with it, she tells us that as a kid she held her temper until the offending child was well within sights before she unleashed her vengeance upon them. This is her way.
Blame for her personality is heaped upon her mother for 1: bearing a mixed race child (Conway) and 2: making up stories about the father she never knew.
Then when she joined the Dublin Murder Squad they all hated her because she was a woman; she was not pure white in colour and, when a colleague slapped her bum she physically injured him. They played dirty tricks on her and did all they could to edge her out. The sort of behaviour  that, in truth, hasn't been witnessed in the police force since the 1960s. Still, I have to remember, this IS fiction.

I got a bit tired of her endlessly baying her troubles to the moon but I must say, her large vocabulary enabled her to do so in the most poetic of ways-with her way with words she ought really to have been a writer. 
(I have to say though that towards the end of the book she does seem to be waking up to and recognising her awful ways).

Conway prides herself on her interview techniques, choosing from an array of personas to match the interviewee, I think a bit more “cool girl” in the squad room might have saved her from plenty of the grief dished out by her colleagues.
As if those interrogation scenes weren’t endless enough then the rehash of every word said,  every nuance noticed and every thought ever thunk must surely be enough to satisfy the greediest of word gobblers.

To sum up:
A great story and engaging mystery that took too long to tell, its the engaging mystery and satisfying ending that earns this book 4 stars.

Review copy provided by Hachette Australia - thanks.

Mount Buggery to Nowhere Else: 4 STARS

Monday, 14 November 2016

Mount Buggery to Nowhere Else
The stories behind Australia's weird and wonderful place names
Author: Eamon Evans
Publication date: 25 Oct 2016
ISBN: 9780733635588
Imprint: Hachette Australia
Page count: 288
Source: Hachette Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this publication contains names and images of people who have passed away

Publishers Summary
The stories behind Australia's many, many strange, and downright hilarious place names.
From Dismal Swamp to Useless Loop, Intercourse Island to Dead Mans Gully, Mount Buggery to Nowhere Else, Australia has some of the strangest, funniest, weirdest and most out-of-place names going - now described and explained in one humorous and fascinating book.
Australia's vast spaces and irreverent, larrikin history have given us some of the best place names in the world. Ranging from the less than positive (Linger and Die Hill, NSW), to the indelicate (Scented Knob, WA), the idiotic (Eggs and Bacon Bay, TAS) to the inappropriate and the just plain fascinating, MOUNT BUGGERY TO NOWHERE ELSE is a toponymical journey through this nation of weird and wonderful places.

Well, you just cannot ignore the title can you? It’s certainly what drew me to the book. Put this on your coffee table and nobody will be able to resist picking it up and diving in. In fact that is the perfect way to read and enjoy this book.

We begin with how Australia (eventually) got its name, then, each state and territory is given its own chapter prefaced by the origins of that state or territory name. Some are pretty much self explanatory, such as the Northern Territory and the imaginatively named Western Australia but, it seems, no one can come up with a good reason for how New South Wales got its name.

Similarly, no one can do much better than to guess at the origins of some of the place names either.  
Probably one of the first names readers will look up is Mount Buggery in the state of Victoria. There’s no explanation for this one other than in order to get there the valiant hiker must climb mountain after mountain in order to to reach it. The author settled on a cartoon of  an exhausted hiker sitting on the mountain anddeclaring: “I’m Buggered”.
As good an explanation as any I guess. Thankfully nobody lives there, imagine having that for your postal address.

My first stop (following Mount Buggery) was my home state of Tasmania, where, incidentally we find the titular Nowhere Else located up the road (okay, dirt track) from Sheffield, which, authors comments aside, is quite nice really.

The whole  book is written in a very humorous and slightly irreverent style, and it might just be my imagination, but did the author ramp up the irreverence levels a tad when he reached our  little island state? 
Yes, Mr. Eamon Evans, I read your “Monster Creek” entry! May Charlotte Badger (Badger Head) haunt your dreams!

This a great book for some entertaining reading and, what with knobs and boobies abounding, is also great fodder for schoolboy humour, as a bonus, there’s also plenty to learn too.

Put it on your Christmas want list and buy it for everyone else, not a one will be disappointed.

Copy provided by Hachette Australia for unbiased review.

The White Russian Caper: The Damien Dickens Mysteries 5 Stars

Friday, 4 November 2016

Written by: Phyllis Entis
Narrated by: Tom Lennon
Length: 8 hrs and 12 mins
Series: Damien Dickens Mysteries, Book 2
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-05-16
Publisher: Quintzy Press
Whispersync for Voice-ready

A mortally wounded Miss America entrusts a mysterious Russian coin to Damien Dickens, PI, before she dies. After Damien disappears while researching the significance of the coin, Millie tracks her husband's abductor to Florida. When his captor falls to his death from the balcony of a seventh floor apartment, Damien escapes; then he and Millie join forces to unravel the web of intrigue surrounding the Russian coin and its connection to the murder of Miss America.

This is the second book in the series and can probably be read as a standalone, but I would highly recommend that you read The Green Pearl Caper first.

Damien gets a call for help from the somewhat foppish Stephane Major, manager of the Boardwalk Hall, home of the Miss America Pageant. The good Mr. Major is overwrought, Miss America is missing! Damien agrees to meet him at the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino where Miss America - aka Miss Cynthia Mills - has her suite.
When Damien searches her rooms he discovers her in the bathroom. She has been badly beaten and is on the point of death, but she manages to convey to him that he must safeguard an old coin. She dies before she can provide any more information.
The distraught Stephane Major begs Damien for help, Damien accepts, but his investigations lead him in to great danger and he is abducted.

His resourceful wife Millie decides that she will find her husband who, having escaped from his captors has had to undertake a gruelling trek from somewhere in the wilds to somewhere civilised. He becomes ill and confused, eventually a police officer, thinking that Damien was drunk, drugged or crazy, approached him to see what his problem was and, as thanks, got his nose broken! Damien is taken to hospital but nobody knows who he is.
Meanwhile, Millie is still searching for him, and there follows great drama and excitement.

We were introduced to Millie in the first Damien Dickens mystery, "The Green Pearl Caper". 
Millie worked as Damien's secretary until things went awry, but happily, they were eventually married. I was delighted to discover that in this latest mystery, Millie's character has been greatly expanded, part of this book is written from Millie's point of view, which, in my opinion is an excellent move, adding dimension and interest to the story.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable listen, a great mystery, lovely ending and with some wonderful characters, Particularly Millie and the unforgettable Mr. Stephane Major, n’est-ce pas?

Narrated by Tom Lennon who, once more does an excellent job. By using just the subtlest changes of tone, rhythm and pitch he makes each character so distinct and recognisable. He is very easy to listen to, his voice never intrudes upon the story but enhances it.
The recording quality is excellent.
Audiobook provided by the narrator, author or publisher for an unbiased review

Triple Crown by Felix Francis: 4 Stars

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Title: Triple Crown
Author: Felix Francis
Published by: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Published: September 22 2016
Narrator: Martin Jarvis
Number of CDs / Tapes: 9
Duration: 9 hours 58 minutes
ISBN: 9781489352262
Source: Bolinda Publishing
I was always a fan of the novels of the late Dick Francis and so was delighted to have the opportunity to review Triple Crown written by his son, Felix Francis. This is his 10th novel and the 3rd to feature Jeff (Jefferson) Hinckley who works as a (sometime) undercover operative for the British Horseracing Authority. 
Triple Crown leads on from the previous book Front Runner which ended with Jeffs life being in a bit of a mess, and to add to his troubles his girlfriend had left him. He was ripe for change when he meets Tony Andretti, the deputy director of  the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA).

Tony suspects that one of his team is leaking information to certain horse trainers because they always seem to be prepared for the raids. Wanting to bring in an unknown face he approaches Jeff as a potential investigator. Jeff and his employers agree and he soon finds himself on a plane flying off to Kentucky  for the first race in the Triple crown The Kentucky Derby, where another bust has been planned. It goes terribly wrong, someone gets killed. On race day, three horses have to be withdrawn because of an unidentified illness, which strikes everyone as being highly suspicious.

Believing that he will not learn anything of much use by simply mingling and observing, Jeff thinks that his best bet will be to go undercover. Posing as an Irish groom with ID provided by FACSA he gets a job at Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes. This proves to be a bit of a challenge as unlike the British strapper whose job description can include several roles, the Americans appear to have a strict hierarchy of stable staff, Jeff has to be careful cross any of those lines.

During all this time Jeff is learning a great deal about the differences between American and British horse racing, and also of the complications caused by State specific racing regulations. He finds it hard to accept some of these differences and also seems quite shocked by the American gun laws.
As the story progresses, the suspense excitement builds towards the big finale.

As mentioned, this is the third Jefferson Hinkley book but the first that I have read, however, I’m happy to recommend it as a standalone.
I really enjoyed listening to this story, but racing and horse lover that I am, I did feel that some passages were a tad over abundant with detailing the rules and regulations of the British and American racing worlds, this did impinge on the flow of the story. Also I’m not sure if American readers will appreciate some of the less than favourable comparisons between the American and British approaches to the management of horse racing - and other things! Hence the four stars.
Narrated by Martin Jarvis who is a well respected British actor who has several television roles to his credit. He has also won many Earphone Awards and the coveted Golden Voices gong awarded to him by the highly regarded Audio File magazine. 
Martin Jarvis, as would be expected, reads beautifully and easily with his lovely golden voice. It’s not all about the voice though, the cadence, rhythm and timing are spot on. Each character, being given their own voice, is easily identifiable. Wonderful job, but … perhaps Irish accents are not quite his forte?
I found the recording to be of the highest quality, crisp, clear with not one discernible glitch.

Copy provided by Bolinda Publishing for an unbiased review.

The Adventures of Fat Rice Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau 4 Stars

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Adventures of Fat Rice
Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau
Authors: Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo, Hugh Amano
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
ISBN: 9781607748953
Pub date: 25 Oct 2016 
Source: NetGalley
With 100 recipes, this is the first book to explore the vibrant food culture of Macau--an east-meets-west melting pot of Chinese, Portuguese, Malaysian, and Indian foodways--as seen through the lens of the cult favorite Chicago restaurant, Fat Rice. 

Located just an hour away from Hong Kong on the banks of the Pearl River in China, Macau is one of the wealthiest cities in the world--the so-called "Las Vegas of the East," and the only place in China where gambling is legal. However, Macau's modern-day glitz belies its rich, centuries-old history as one of the greatest trading ports in the world. Ruled by Portugal from the 1600s until 1999, Macau was a crossroads along the spice route, and a place where travelers from Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and mainland China traded resources, culture, and food--making Macanese cuisine one of the most eclectic and deliciously unique food traditions in the world.
   Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo are the chefs and owners of the wildly popular and critically-lauded Chicago restaurant Fat Rice, where they serve their own unique take on the food of Macau. The Adventures of Fat Rice is a fun and whimsical tear through modern-day Macau--and the minds of two wildly creative chefs. Dishes like Hong Kong French Toast (Macau's version of dim sum), Po Kok Gai (a Portuguese chicken curry), and the titular Arroz Gordo (if Spanish paella and Chinese fried rice had a baby) are enticingly exotic yet accessible and even playful. Featuring a mish-mash of classic and interpretative dishes, plus comic book-style illustrations and edgy location photography, The Adventures of Fat Rice will be the first book to bring the eclectic, richly satisfying, and previously unheralded food of Macau to the mainstream.

The bright, bold cover with the sea monster is an instant attraction, to me it served as an indication that this may be an unusual and fun book and worth a look. It is certainly unusual in that it focuses on the food customs of Macau, a culinary melting pot of food cultures that, according to the authors, is a subject not well recorded.
What I loved about the book:
The history, of how the various cultures came together on this island resulting in a cuisine that is so unique. I always like to read anecdotes about the local people who work hard to maintain the traditional procedures ensuring they are passed on. I like to think that this book contributes towards that aim. The authors do point out though that despite all efforts to maintain authenticity, there can be several ways to prepare a dish.
There is a section on equipment and how to prepare it for use and how to maintain it, handy for the new wok owner.
I loved the spices glossary, especially as some are unfamiliar, I would have liked the beautiful illustrations of the spice pots to have been labelled though, that would be helpful.
What is helpful are the diagrams of how to fold chamucas and also the cute cartoon like noodles section.
There is a wonderful illustrated vegetable glossary, again, useful as some are so unfamiliar to home cooks.
The recipes are written in a very clear style, some are quite lengthy and requires skipping to another page to find the ingredients, for example, making a curry; Po Kok Gai (Portuguese chicken curry)  requires a portion of Turmeric Baked Chicken and a portion of a curry sauce, both are recipes in themselves. Meals then may require much forward planning, there are however, many less complex dishes, it's just a case of reading a recipe carefully before leaping in and attempting to cook it. I like that there are no short cut options, to me, this indicates authenticity.
Each dish is beautifully photographed so we know, at least, what it should look like!

I was a little disappointed that there was just a brief introduction to the authors, I would have liked to know more about them. As it is we jump straight in to the resource tour followed by a brief history of the restaurant itself. this is merely personal opinion, but I feel it would have rounded out the book, giving it a more well rounded and complete feel.
Copy via NetGalley and Ten Speed Press in return for an unbiased review
© Audiobook and Book Reviews by Audiothing • THEME BY Maira Gall