Review: Dinner in 5 by Pete Evans

Dinner in 5 by Pete Evans

Dinner in 5 makes family dinners easy by stripping back meals to 5 main ingredients.

Each dish has 5 or less ingredients and includes an optional sauce or spice rub to add if you feel like taking things up a notch.

Think crispy salt and pepper prawns with a kick of lime and chilli. A healthy spin on the beloved Chinese lemon chicken. The juiciest pork cutlets topped with zingy pineapple salsa. Crackling barbecue chicken that needs nothing else but a squeeze of lemon and a simple green salad. Easy, fast, delicious.

Eat well together every night of the week!

Published 24 September 2019 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$39.99

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I’m so very excited to have received a cookbook to review even if I’ve never reviewed one before and neither am I a natural cook. When I say natural cook, I mean those with sensitive tastebuds who taste their cooking and adjust as needed because I will rarely ever taste my cooking (it’s just not something I’d think of doing) and half the time, I forget to add salt! Poor hubby (a much better cook) has had to put up with my slap-dash follow-the-recipe-to-the-t kinda cooking. Which is really the reason why I found this book intriguing: 5 ingredients! I’d love it! Or so I thought…

I did cook some of the dishes (see pics) and mostly, they turn out pretty good and the boys (hubby, mr 9 & mr 4) ate them without too much ado (except maybe about the cauliflower mash lol). While the title is rather deceiving: there are 5 ingredients (or less) in the main recipe but most of them refer to certain spice mix or marinade or something which are to be found in the last part of the book so in reality, there are at least 10 ingredients per dish. Now, I don’t know if this is to be expected but I didn’t expect it.

I cooked about 5 dishes and the family has rated them an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars. We love the meat and the sauce / spice mix / marinade but at times, the dish itself needs something extra. For example, the Crackling Barbecue Chicken was only to be served with mixed salad leaves which was rather boring… so I added a bit of tomatoes & cucumbers. I guess in a way, 5 ingredients are so very little to work with but you could always add your favourite veggies with whatever you ended up cooking. I would definitely cook more from this book as most recipes are quite easy to do despite the 5+ ingredients 😉

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Pete Evans has been the #1 selling Australian health and wholefood author for the past three years. He is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, TV presenter, health coach, adventure seeker and father. Born in Melbourne and raised on the Gold Coast, Pete Evans is one of Australia’s leading authorities on healthy cooking and lifestyle.

Pete began his career as a chef and restaurateur at the age of 19, opening numerous restaurants, including the award-winning Hugo’s, as well as cooking in some of the finest restaurants globally. Since then, Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room, with many TV appearances including on Lifestyle Channel’s Postcards from HomeFISH and Moveable Feast. Pete is currently co-host of Channel 7’s hugely successful show My Kitchen Rules and the host of his own series The Paleo Way. He is also executive producer of the documentary The Magic Pill.

Despite his fast-paced career, Pete is a simple guy at heart. He loves his family, the ocean, surfing and maintaining his own healthy lifestyle. When he switched to a paleo way of living, an abundance of mental, physical, and emotional changes followed. This paved the way for Pete’s belief that food can be medicine, and that it should be our first port of call for a healthier life.

As a certified health coach, Pete is dedicated to improving people’s lives through education about nutritional food and wellness.

Find Pete on:  facebook  |  website  | instagram  | youtube

Advertisements

Blog Tour: Helix by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Helix (International Sensory Assassin Network #2) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 10th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Alliances are forming. The resistance is growing. Everything is about to change.

With her memory still fragmented, Ava returns to the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) to find the twin sister she never knew she had.

But as Ava hunts for information, she finds herself tangled in a web of yet more lies and conspiracy. The Helix serum may not be required to access her superpowers, and the number of male assassins—previously considered too volatile to tolerate Helix—is growing in every territory.

The more Ava uncovers, the more of a threat she becomes to ISAN. Her only salvation may be to join the rebels—if she isn’t killed first.

Add to Goodreads / Purchase

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 2 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there would be spoiler of book 1 (unavoidable if I want to be coherent in this review, sorry!)

I have been aware of this author, Mary Ting, for a while but haven’t really been compelled to pick up her books until now. I guess I was just in the right mood for a dystopian novel with a kick ass heroine or two or maybe hundreds. I expected lots of subterfuge, action, and a bit of romance to spice it up.

Helix, being book 2, picks up right after book 1 or even roughly around the same time. The big difference is that in this book, we have dual perspectives: Rhett’s in addition to Ava’s. It is very logical & useful telling of the story seeing the way the plot developed in this book but it was also so very good to hear Rhett’s voice (mostly anyway – I’ll explain the ‘mostly’ later). We have a much wider worldview in this book and therefore, a number of more complex twists.

What I enjoyed most in this books are the girls and their friendships. Okay, there are some who are just very cold but then I wonder if there’ll be other factors unveiled in subsequent series. Anyway, Ava & her friends are intelligent, independent, and courageous ladies. I really liked the way they care for each other and also, in resolving conflicts (it’s not all violent!).

Even if I was excited to have Rhett’s pov (the books begins with his), I later found that he’s just too needy! Or maybe the better phrasing is that he’s too hung up on Ava. I got rather frustrated with him so I didn’t find his character as well developed as Ava’s. In addition, this does make the novel to be quite heavy handed with the romance. I think because I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy in the romance department (there wasn’t that much romance in book 1), I was finding it really corny. I was actually laughing at a ‘very romantic’ speech and errr… that wasn’t good lol. So, okay, I may be a tad cynical but you yourself may Love it 😉

Helix was a very quick read mostly due to just how action-packed it was. If you love lots of romance with sparks flying off the page, you’d love this sequel to ISAN.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Sept-22)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres and her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub

XBTBanner1

Blog Tour: The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier -a Review + GIVEAWAY

The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards #1) by Juliet Marillier

Bard. Warrior. Rebel. 

Eighteen-year-old Liobhan is a powerful singer and an expert whistle player. Her brother has a voice to melt the hardest heart and is a rare talent on the harp. But Liobhan’s burning ambition is to join the elite warrior band on Swan Island. While she and her brother are competing for places in this band, they are asked to go undercover as travelling minstrels. For Swan Island trains both warriors and spies.

Their mission is to find and retrieve a precious harp, an ancient symbol of kingship. If the harp is not played at the upcoming coronation, the heir will not be accepted and the kingdom will be thrown into turmoil. Faced with plotting courtiers, secretive druids, an insightful storyteller and a boorish Crown Prince, Liobhan soon realises an Otherworld power may be meddling in the affairs of the realm. When ambition clashes with conscience, Liobhan must make a bold decision – and the consequences may break her heart.

Published 27 August 2019 |  Publisher: MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

All I knew was that it’s a new book by Juliet Marillier. I. Must. Read. It. I didn’t really bother finding out what the book was about so you can just imagine my pleasure to find out when I started reading that it’s set in the same universe as that of Blackthorn & Grimm’s because I really loved that trilogy.

The opening scene was exciting with a fight in the rain and being told from the perspective of Liobhan, it was easy to fall into the story & liking her. When perspective changed (there are 2 others, Brocc & Dau), I wasn’t quite sure whether I was keen on the other 2 povs so it became a bit slow because I was reluctant to read these 2 but impatient to get on onto the next Liobhan’s chapters. I think you all know this struggle with multiple povs. You find a favourite and tend to stick with them. There are some novels that I just can’t get used to multiple povs but this isn’t one of them.

Even as I struggle with uncertainties with multiple characters, the tale itself progresses rather quickly and in the end, it was a rather fast read because I found that I could barely put it down. I enjoyed the dynamics between these 3 characters, Liobhan being the centre piece but I love how close the siblings are (Liobhan & Brocc) and the development of Dau’s character and therefore, his relationship with Liobhan.

The Harp of Kings is really a comfort read for me so I’ve really enjoyed it. Points taken off only because I didn’t feel the pull right from the beginning and one particular incident in the novel that I just didn’t click with. Otherwise, I love this Otherwordly tale.

I adore these Celtic infused stories by Marillier. I love how she combines my love for historical fantasy and mystery so this was a perfect read for me. If you loved Marillier’s recent works, you’ll enjoy this read too. This new series, Warrior Bards, promises to be one full of music, many stories, and intriguing mysteries.

My thanks to MacMillan Australia for having me on this tour and  paperback copy of book in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Macmillan Australia, I’ve got 1 paperback copy of The Harp of Kings to giveaway!

To enter, simple leave a comment with most recent historical fantasy book you have read (or are currently reading) and include a random sentence/short paragraph from it. I will draw the winner on the evening of Monday, 9th September 2019. You may also wish to enter via Insta and/or Twitter and/or Facebook as well as commenting on this post however there is only 1 copy up for grabs.

Please note this giveaway is limited to ANZ residents only.

About the author

Juliet Marillier was born in New Zealand and grew up surrounded by Celtic music and stories. Her own Celtic-Gaelic roots inspired her to write her first series, the Sevenwaters Trilogy. Her lifelong interest in history, folklore and mythology has had a major influence on her writing.

Juliet is the author of twenty historical fantasy novels for adults and young adults, as well as a book of short fiction. Juliet’s novels and short stories have won many awards. She is a member of the druid order OBOD (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.)

Find Juliet on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook

Review: Silverlegs I: Seed of Rage by Camilla Monk

Silverlegs I: Seed of Rage  by Camilla Monk

Will you be fast enough? 

A fifteen-year-old girl with a gift for violence and nothing left to lose, Constanter is running. To escape the farm she grew up on in a remote part of the Western Lorian empire. To forget the family and the life she can never return to. She runs east, toward the distant war she knows only from the tales travelers—a twenty-year long conflict, opposing the Western and Eastern halves of the empire.

Mistaken for a boy after she stole the gear of a dead soldier, she is captured and drafted by a band of mercenaries whose leader recognizes her innate speed and agility. Her face hidden under a mask, Constanter surrenders to the anger she wears like a second skin and becomes Silverlegs, a legendary killer, an uncontrollable weapon in the hands of power-hungry rulers and religious fanatics.

As the Western empire spirals into madness in the name of the One God, Constanter will have to choose what she truly fights for, before Silverlegs’s rage leads her down the road to hell…

———————-
Trigger warnings:
Silverlegs is a grimdark fantasy novel set in a world inspired by the late Roman empire. The heroine evolves in an environment that is violent, classist, misogynistic, and homophobic. This book questions religious fanaticism. It contains elements of sexual violence, rape, and graphic violence.

Published 27 August 2019 |  Publisher: Yaypub  |  RRP: US$12.99

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

There seems to be quite a bit in the trigger warning for this book to warn me away but girl-as-boy trope is a fave of mine plus she’s looking pretty bad ass on that cover so I decided that it’s worth to try reading this.

This is truly a very grim & dark story right for the very beginning. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read through if there are more rape scene and/or if it was more graphic. Yes, the rape scene was pretty much near the beginning of the book and so, it wasn’t a big surprised that Constanter was absolutely raging! In fact, this rage was what I had to struggle with… I wouldn’t be able to deal if rage and pain were the only 2 emotions she felt.

Constanter is very resourceful, strong, and capable. Thankfully, despite her rage at the helplessness of women in her world and her inability to trust anyone, there are some humour in this sad world. I love her snarky interactions with Vitrix and others. Most of all, I loved cheering her on in her endeavour to rise above her situation. I do have to stress that there are a lot of violence and whilst I have read worst (where I just had to skim the page or skip it altogether), let’s just say there are a lot of gore in this one. They are in the middle of war.

I found the world to be quite confusing in that there are wars but Constanter didn’t have a choice as to which side she’s on. Nor did we ever find out exactly what each side are fighting for (besides power & wealth, if any)… Then again, Constanter came from a backwater village and she herself has no idea the who or whyfor of this war.

As the title indicates, Seed of Rage, is an angry story. It is also dark, violent, and fairly hopeless world. It did however engaged my full attention within 20% of the story and I just had to finish. I must admit, I was full of rage at the ending too and yet, I cannot wait to find out what’s going to happen next. Keeping my fingers crossed for book 2 to come sooner than later!

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

About the author

Camilla Monk is a virtually unknown author who somehow tricked a bunch of people into publishing books about ostriches and killer platypuses.

A French native who grew up in a Franco-American family, she taught English and French in Tokyo before returning to France to work in advertising. After ten years spent building rickety websites for financial companies, she now lives and writes in Montreal, where she keeps a close watch on the squirrels and complains on a daily basis about the egregious number of Tim Hortons.

Her writing credits include the English resumes and cover letters of a great many French friends, and some essays as well. She’s also the critically acclaimed author of a few passive-aggressive notes pasted in her building’s elevator.

Find Camilla on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter | facebook

Review: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1)  by Hasfah Faizal

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Published 14 May 2019 |  Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux BYR  |  RRP: AUD$18.99

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I think the first time I found out about this book was from this teaser by the author:

Such catching lines paired with awesome images of synchronised colours – I really could NOT wait to read this one. This teaser was posted quite early so I saw it quite a number of times and I think that was probably why when I actually read these lines in the book, I didn’t really feel the power anymore… I’ve still really enjoyed the story though.

As the above image hinted, there are 2 perspectives in this story: Zafira, the Hunter, and Nasir, the Prince of Death. I loved Zafira; she’s feisty but she’s also hiding a lot of hurt. I’m not quite so keen on Nasir… he may be hot (there are definite sparks there and I loved that) but I feel like that he’s so focused on one thing that he’s not seeing what he should see and therefore, he looks weak. Then again, this may be a lesson he’d have to learn from Zafi 😉

We Hunt the Flame was a very engaging story. I gorged myself and had to pay for it the next day with only 5 hours of sleep 😪 BUT NO REGRETS! Zafi and Nasir drew me in and there was no stopping til I reached the end. I loved this new world of Arawiya with its diverse settings and casts; it ended up being a much bigger world with a whole heap more people & other beings and worlds away from mine own.

I do wish that secondary characters were developed more but then again, their stories may come later on seeing that it is only the first book.  And that ending! Oooh! He may turn or he may not… I can’t wait to read more of his backstory and his choice!

If you love a historical sort of fantasy, you’ll not be disappointed by this book. We Hunt the Flame will take you to a very cold place then a very hot one and you’ll never want to leave. It is a story filled with hurt, revenge, love, magic, and hope. For now, I’m in a world of pain waiting for the next book.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Hafsah Faizal is an American Muslim and brand designer. She’s the founder of IceyDesigns, where she creates websites for authors and beauteous goodies for everyone else. When she’s not writing, she can be found dreaming up her next design, deciding between Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim, or traversing the world. Born in Florida and raised in California, she now resides in Texas with her family and a library of books waiting to be devoured. We Hunt the Flame is her first novel.

Find Hafsah on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter | instagram  | tumblr  | pinterest

Review: River of Salt by Dave Warner

River of Salt by Dave Warner

1961, Philadelphia. After having to give up his brother to save his own life, hitman Blake Saunders flees the Mob and seeks refuge on the other side of the world. Two years later he has been reborn in a tiny coastal Australian town. The ghosts of the past still haunt him but otherwise Coral Shoals is
paradise. Blake surfs, and plays guitar in his own bar, the Surf Shack. But then the body of a young woman is found at a local motel, and evidence links her the Surf Shack. When Blake’s friend is arrested, and the local sergeant doesn’t want to know, it becomes clear to Blake – who knows a thing or two about murder – that the only way to protect his paradise is to
find the killer.

Published 1 April 2019 |  Publisher: Fremantle Press |  RRP: AUD$29.99

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

So some GR friends were very excited about having access this as ‘Read Now’ on Netgalley and it was so contagious, I caught it. For some reason though, the words (in the description) ‘reborn’ and ‘ghosts’ made me expect something supernatural?! I don’t really know what my frame of mind was like at that time but my head was definitely not screwed on properly because there’s really nothing supernatural here…

Of course, incorrect expectations didn’t help because whatever I expected never happened and that can let to a disappointment. I’m afraid that even after I read other reviews, I still couldn’t get rid of my original thought. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of noir so River of Salt turned out to be just an okay read for me.

I enjoyed the first chapter a lot as it really gave form to the character of Blake Saunders. This is not a novel about the mafia though so he needed to be ‘reborn’ and what better place that some little coastal Aussie town. But even in an out-of-the-way sort of place, there is no avoiding bad things and as Blake tried to get it all sorted, things just kept escalating ’til he came across a ‘ghost’ from his past.

I love the setting (and said descriptions) and secondary characters (especially of the female variety). I’d love to live in a town like that – sounds divine – but I really would not like to live in the 60s as a woman. The mystery itself was astonishing, the climax heartpounding, and the ending, I think this could be a series 😉

Thanks to Fremantle Press via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Dave Warner is an author, musician and

screenwriter. He originally came to national
prominence with his gold album Mug’s Game, and
his band Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs. In 2017
he released his tenth album When. He has been
named a Western Australian State Living Treasure
and has been inducted into the WAMi Rock’n’Roll
of Renown.

Find Dave on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook

Blog Tour: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small -a Review

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Kate and Marine have trained since childhood at the Paris Opera Ballet School where they formed an intense bond after respective family tragedies. Their friendship seems unshakeable until their final year when only one girl can be selected for a place in the Opera’s company. The physically demanding competition takes an emotional toll, and their support for each other starts to crumble. Marine’s eating disorder begins to control her life as she consumes less and dances more, and Kate discovers the depths of depression and the highs of first love as she falls for the school heartthrob—who also happens to be Marine’s dance partner.

As rankings tighten and each day is one step closer to the final selection, neither girl is sure just how far she’ll go to win. With nuance and empathy, the intense emotions of teenage years are amplified in Small’s debut as the girls struggle with grief, mental health issues, and relationships, all set against the glamorous backdrop of Paris.

Published 21 May 2019 |  Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers |  RRP: USD$17.95

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I couldn’t help myself… A glance at the cover and I’m gone! Yep, I’m definitely reading this one – I just A.D.O.R.E. ballet. When I read the description, I doubted whether this is something I’d like but I still had to try. The bit I didn’t like was that it hinted at a love triangle and that it’ll take over the whole book but it did NOT and boy, I was so thankful!

Bright Burning Stars was so much more than just a love story or even boys. It delved much deeper into the psyches of these two girls who are passionate about dancing but are in a very stressful competitive situation. Their friendship of many years are challenged to the breaking point and their health are at risk to the point of destruction. This was a rather dark read.

Thankfully, this book is told in dual perspective, Kate Saunders and Marine Duval. I am very glad for Marine’s because I think I might have thrown the book if all I had to read was Kate’s point of view. Both Kate and Marine have had their share of childhood grief and each has their own issues in this story but Marine as a character is one you can easily sympathise with while Kate may just make you cry (after wanting to shake her).

As I read Bright Burning Stars & tried to guess the ending (who does that!?), I was reminded of Centre Stage (movie). The more I think of it, the more I see similarities between the 2 but enough differences to exist. Nevertheless, if you love this book, go watch Centre Stage!! And vice versa 😉

My thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for having me on this tour 

About the author

A.K. Small was born in Paris. At five years old, she began studying classical dance with the legendary Max Bozzoni, then later with Daniel Franck and Monique Arabian at the famous Académie Chaptal. At thirteen, she moved to the United States where she danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet for one summer in Seattle and with the Richmond Ballet Student Company for several years. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and has an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband, her puppy, and her three daughters, and practices yoga. Bright Burning Stars is her first novel.

Find her on:  goodreads  |  website  | twitter  |  facebook  | instagram