Deliciously Ella with Friends: Ella Mills

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Author: Ella Mills
Paperback
ISBN: 9781473655263
Pub. JAN 31, 2017 
Genre: Cookery / Health and Wholefood / Vegetarian
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publishers Summary:
The much-anticipated follow-up cookbook from Deliciously Ella, the inspirational bestselling healthy food writer who has taken the cookery world by storm.
In the follow-up to her amazing bestseller DELICIOUSLY ELLA EVERY DAY, Ella makes it easy for you to prepare delicious healthy food for you, your friends and family, whatever the occasion. No more wondering whether certain dishes go together, Ella makes life simple with her menus - whether you are planning a laid-back brunch, a last-minute lunch or a fancy supper, Ella has it covered with wonderful hearty and filling recipes that celebrate her healthy eating philosophy.
With ideas and inspiration for every foodie occasion, including cosy nights in, easy kitchen suppers, flavoursome feasts, birthday parties, picnics and mocktails and cocktails, this is the go-to book for anyone who lives a healthy lifestyle and loves sharing food with friends and family.

Review
I usually cook a meatless meal a couple of nights a week so I looked forward to maybe getting a few ideas from this book.
Pros
Nicely categorised with some tasty looking main meals, particularly within the feast section. (Do try the Indian style recipes, very tasty indeed.)
A good selection of desserts and a few cakes for those with a sweet tooth
Plenty of photos so we know what the food ought to look like, possibly too many photos of widely smiling young things, but then, the title does state “with friends”.
Cons
There is no Glossary. 
The norm in most cookbooks these days and, I believe, essential. I like to have a full glossary to explain each ingredient and its possible substitute. 
For example, which type of coconut oil is the healthiest choice? Especially as it seems to be a controversial food product these days.
I would like to know how to substitute those ingredients which are unavailable to me where I live, how much vanilla extract equates to two teaspoonsful of vanilla powder?
There is no Pantry list. 
A suggested shopping list of ingredients to keep on hand would be handy for someone embarking on a plant based diet.
Lastly, and my biggest grouch is why, oh why are nutritional values not stated? This is a book about healthy eating, readers need to know if the protein/fat/carbohydrate content of a meal is balanced. I found this omission very odd.

Summary
I’m afraid I was underwhelmed and a bit disappointed with this book, maybe my expectations were too high, but this book did not provide me with the information I have come to expect from a modern cookbook. 
Ella needs to give her readers more information for their money.
Review copy provided by Hachette Australia


Without Remorse: The Harry Starke Novels, Book 9

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Without Remorse: The Harry Starke Novels, Book 9
Written by: Blair Howard
Narrated by: Tom Lennon
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins 
Series: Harry Starke, Book 9
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-31-17
Publisher: Blair Howard
5 Stars
Publishers Summary
On a balmy afternoon in May 2002, wealthy stockbroker Peter Nicholson was turkey hunting with three friends in Prentice Cooper State Forest when he tripped, fell on his shotgun, and accidentally shot himself...dead, but did he? 15 years later, as a last resort, Nicholson's mother asks Harry Starke to find the truth. As we all know, Harry loves a cold case, but...as always, there's a twist in the tale.
Review
When Harry returned to work after his last adventure it was to discover that his staff were so efficient that they had nothing for him to do. Amanda was busy trying to get her old job back, Kate was busy, even Jaque was too busy to chat. He was a bit put out about this  ….  and Harry was bored!

That is until Helen Nicholson walked in. Helen did not believe that her son Peter shot himself, she was convinced it was murder. Having made several unsuccessful attempts to get the case reopened, she was looking for someone to dig up fresh evidence. She did not expect Harry to accept the case.

Well, of course, being Harry - a bored Harry, he surprised her by accepting.
However, when she told him who her sons shooting companions were on that day Harry could see why 
1: nobody else wanted to touch it and 
2: that this was going to be a very, very tough assignment.
You see, one was now a senior circuit judge, one was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and the third, a high flying lawyer.

Harry was right, it was tough going, but what an assignment it proved to be! Can Harry win this one?

In true Blair Howard style we get a fully engaging fast paced yarn, inhabited by all those wonderful, richly developed characters that Harry fans have come to know and love. Have no doubt, Without Remorse will keep you guessing.

Yes, narrator Tom Lennon lives up to our expectations again, giving us yet another outstanding performance and a high quality recording, thanks Tom.

Copy provided by narrator for review purposes

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Written by: Joy Ellis
Narrated by: Henrietta Meire
Length: 9 hrs 
Series: DI Nikki Galena, Book 3
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-31-17
Publisher: Tantor Audio

Publishers Summary
DI Nikki Galena faces her toughest challenge yet. Can she save her team and herself from a cruel and determined adversary who will stop at nothing to harm Nikki and her colleagues? First she must work out who wants revenge against her or one of her detectives. Full of twists and turns, this is a crime novel that will keep listeners riveted until the stunning ending.

And what is the connection between the series of attacks on the police and the mystery of woman found dead in a seemingly impregnable locked room? Find out in this tense and exciting detective thriller.

Review
This series is fast becoming a favourite with me, each story seems to get better than the last.
Nikki Galena returns to work to face a very strange case, a woman has been found murdered in her apartment. To complicate the case, the apartment building is equipped with a top of the range security system. How did the murderer gain entry? It’s a real locked room mystery that none of the tech types can solve. 

Nikki soon has to concentrate on a more urgent case, someone is out to get her and her team. Who is it? Where will they strike next?  Who is next on the list? 
When her team members start to suffer Nikki goes all out to solve this case. Tired and stressed by both her work and her personal troubles, Nikki softens a little and accepts moral and practical support from D.S. Joe Easter.
In turn, Nikki acts as a buffer between Joe and his estranged daughter.

Cat develops her computer skills to help with the case, and Dave, well, you won’t believe what happens to Dave.

This is fully engaging, fast paced character driven story, there is so much going on yet author Joy Ellis keeps it all flowing smoothly.

Narrated by the fabulous Henrietta Meire who brings life and vibrancy to the characters. Not only are the characters’ voices consistent within the book, but throughout the series. Oh, and she does a very good snarky and mean teenager!
The quality of this recording is excellent.

Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

The Dry: Jane Harper, 5 stars

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Dry
Written by: Jane Harper
Narrated by: Steve Shanahan
Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins 
Unabridged Audiobook
U.S. Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN: 9781250117632
Australian Publisher: Wavesound Audio
Publishers Summary:
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

A bit more about the book .....
Some twenty years after being hounded out of Kiewarra, Aaron Falk is back, summoned by a note from Gerry Hadler, the father of his old friend Luke.
The note read:
“Luke lied, you lied. Be at the funeral”
Review
Apart from being uniquely Australian, there is definitely something a bit special about this book.
The writing, whilst not flowery, is beautifully descriptive, easy to read with not a wasted word.
There are no blazing blue lights, wailing sirens or high octane action to drive this story, it is all about the characters, the narrative and the search for secrets.
Some of the characters are not quite as they first seem, but the truth of their lives is divulged in an enticingly measured manner. This leads the reader to doubt their true natures, one minute you are trusting someone and the next you find yourself feeling a bit mistrustful, even of Falk himself.
This is an outstanding, satisfying read.

The audiobook is narrated by Steven Shanahan, an Australian voice-over artist with a really easy on the ear voice and accent.
His style is so very different to that of other narrators in that he seems mainly to use one voice, however, subtle nuances of tone, rhythm plus little vocal sound effects do identify the characters. Very clever!
Whatever his technique is, it certainly works, as it feels just like someone sitting down with you and telling you a story, a more intimate style which works perfectly  for The Dry. 
I don’t know who picks narrators but I think author Jane Harper must be absolutely thrilled with whoever chose Steve Shanahan. I'm hoping he will be narrating more audiobooks.
An outstanding story, an excellent narrator and a high quality recording, what more could you want?
Review copy provided by Macmillan Audio
Last word
Yes, this prize winning debut novel by Jane Harper certainly lives up to the hype. In fact the story of how the book came about is a pretty incredible story in itself, well worth visiting her website to find out. Take a look at The Road to Publication (bottom of page) Here
Huntsman = a spider, a very, very large spider as big as handspan, luckily it is harmless!
Ute = Utility vehicle known elsewhere as a pick-up truck

Calypso: The Harry Starke Novels, Book 8

Monday, 20 February 2017

Written by: Blair Howard
Narrated by: Tom Lennon
Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins 
Series: Harry Starke, Book 8
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:11-04-16
Publisher: Blair Howard
Publishers Summary
"There are four basic reasons why someone commits murder. The first and most powerful is love. The second - equally powerful - is hate. Almost equally compelling is revenge. The fourth is profit. Money. When one family member kills another, one or more of them is almost always the motive, and the murders on Calypso Key were no exception." - Harry Starke

Review
Every book in this series has something new and fresh to offer the fans of the Harry Starke series and this one is no exception. Harry has gathered all those close to him, family, friends and employees and swept them off to a beautiful exotic location to witness his marriage to the beautiful Amanda. Of course, where Harry is concerned, trouble is always just around the corner ….

A murder, right there on the island and he has no choice but to give in to the plea for his help from the victims father. “But” bewails Harry “I’m on my honeymoon”. August, his father, explains to Harry that they both owe this man a huge debt of gratitude, when Harry learns the reason for this debt, he has no option but to help.
Suspects soon arise, and in what is a “locked room” mystery, albeit on an island, Harry must discover which one is the murderer - all without the benefits of specifically trained investigators and on the spot forensic amenities.
Come along and enjoy the ride, another great Harry Starke investigation from author Blair Howard.
Narrator
….and another great narration from Tom Lennon who never fails to deliver the goods.  The voice, the delivery and the outstanding interpretation of the characters all combine to provide a wonderful, high quality listening experience

Audiobook review copy provided by the publisher

The Crossroads: Pamela Cook. 4 stars

Sunday, 19 February 2017

ISBN: 9780733636851
ISBN-10: 0733636853
Genre: Contemporary, Rural Fiction,
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 29th November 2016
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Outline:
This story is about three women with life troubles; Rosie, owner of the Crossroads, a decrepit heritage listed outback hotel, is guarding a secret which she has never revealed to a single soul. A widow, she is bearing the stress of her financial worries alone. Rosie also has a dream, to travel overseas to build on her culinary skills.

Stephanie is Rosies' daughter, married to Bryce, they live on their station where they ought to be growing beef but the prolonged drought is bringing them to their knees. Bryce is depressed and withdrawn, Stephanie strives to shield their little son from the effects of his fathers depression.

Faith is a Sydney girl, she has recently lost both a job and a boyfriend. Her parents are on a cruise, they ask Faith to find some documents they need. She finds far more than she bargained for.
This discovery leads her to Birralong and the Crossroads Hotel ….

Review:
Rural romance/rural fiction is certainly not my usual genre but, despite that, I did enjoy this book. There is a reason why it is so very popular, for me there is a comfort in the formula - things go bad, things improve and then there is usually a pleasant ending to look forward to. Having said that, this story is not quite as predictable as I expected, there’s a bit of a surprise in there for us readers!

I like that this is a heartwarming story, well written and easy to read. The author did her research well, basing Birralong on the township of Hughendon in Far North Queensland, a town but three hours or so from the gorgeous Julia Creek where I lived and worked for a few months.
To those like me who do not normally read this genre I would recommend this book as a refreshing change from the sometimes disturbing world of crime fiction.
Review copy provided by Hachette Australia

Last Of The Giants: The True Story of Guns N' Roses 5 Stars

Thursday, 16 February 2017


ISBN: 9781409167228
ISBN-10: 1409167224 
Audience: General 
Format: Paperback 
Language: English 
Number Of Pages: 480
Published: 29th November 2016
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co 
Source: Hachette Australia
Publishers Summary
A major, definitive biography of Guns N' Roses by the man who was very much a part of what remains the most iconic rock story of the last three decades.
Many millions of words have already been written about Guns N' Roses, the old line-up, the new line-up. But none of them have ever really gotten to the truth. Which is this: Guns N' Roses has always been a band out of time, the Last of the Giants. They are what every rock band since the Rolling Stones has tried and nearly always failed to be: dangerous. At a time when smiling, MTV-friendly, safe-sex, just-say-no Bon Jovi was the biggest band in the world, here was a band that seemed to have leapt straight out of the coke-smothered pages of the original, golden-age, late-sixties rock scene.
Review 
The publishers summary is right about one thing, at that time music was “smiley”, it was also lukewarm and somewhat boring. Until, that is, Guns N’ Roses came along and changed everything. Well, they sure weren’t boring, musically or otherwise!
This book purports to be the true story of Guns N’ Roses, the author, Mick Wall spent years with them when gathering material for his magazine interviews so you have to believe that he knew them quite well.

In 2006 he wrote a biography of W. Axl Rose entitled  W.A.R. which he has since denounced and taken out of circulation. On his website Mick Wall gives his reasons for this action*.
There is an interesting discussion going on about the book on the forum of the  My GNR website
Since that time life happened to Mick Wall, and Last of the Giants he says “has been done with nothing but love in my heart”.

The book promises much in the way of truth and insight but it is a biography, so, as is the way with biographies many stories are third hand. However, it is a really enjoyable read though sad and troubling in parts. After reading some of the stories I had to wonder at how they actually survived!

The book is well laid out and easy to read with a very detailed index and an excellent notes and sources section.
This is a book for all Guns N’ Roses fans, those who were around at the beginning and those who weren’t even born then.
Review copy provided by Hachette Australia

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