30 November 2016

Review: Made in the Office - Tasty & Hasty Meals with Just a Kettle, Toaster & Microwave by Rachel Maylor

* Copy courtesy of Murdoch Books *

Do you keep balsamic vinegar in your desk drawer? Do you grate garlic or lemon zest at work? If you have a sieve and a whisk and don't mind dicing onions and cooking chicken in the microwave, then this book is for you. If you have buckwheat, agave nectar, almond milk, chia seeds or cacao powder in your pantry (or know where to find them) then you're definitely the target audience for Made in the Office by Rachel Maylor.

If, however, you're like me and you don't fancy eating cooked beetroot or fresh garlic at work and don't have time to whisk up a delicious dressing in your lunch break then you're not alone.

When I picked up Made in the Office I was eager to discover lunch hacking recipes and inspiring new ways to prepare food using a kettle, toaster and microwave. There were glimpses of the kind of content I was hoping to find and the instructions for poaching an egg in a mug in the microwave were excellent. The cake in a mug recipes were fun and the water infusion suggestions were interesting, but overall I wasn't impressed with Made in the Office, despite it's delightful presentation.

If you're a foodie at home with pomegranate seeds, take a lemon or lime to work every day and enjoy eating out of a jar, then you'll find this book - and the recipes within - irresistible.

On the other hand, if it's inspiration and 'lunch hacks' you seek, then you'll need to join me and look elsewhere.

My rating = **

Carpe Librum!
29 November 2016

Winner of Pounce by Seth Casteel announced

Thanks to the catlovers and booklovers who entered my paw-some (awesome) giveaway last week to win a copy of Pounce by Seth Casteel. Entries closed at midnight on Friday 25 November and I enjoyed reading through your favourite cat names. Congratulations to:
Julia Persico

Julia's favourite cat name was: Cheshire Cat. Philosophical yet lovable, and sometimes simply not all there. I think we all have a little Cheshire in us! Congratulations Julia, you'll receive an email shortly and will have 7 days to provide me with your postal address. Thanks again to Hachette Australia for this prize.

Here are some of the other cat names worth a mention:
- Garfield
- Mogget
- Felix, yes I can hear the music now
- Amber, my beautiful cat who died this year
- Lucy, still alive and just like the song!
- Thomasima
- Greyem
- Panda, my recently belated pet cat
- Pcat, the P was silent, short for PsychoCat
- Mrs. Norris
- Sooty
- Simba

Carpe Librum!
21 November 2016

Review: Southern Ruby by Belinda Alexandra

* Copy courtesy of Harper Collins Australia *

Southern Ruby by Belinda Alexandra is an excellent read, but I have to say it has the most misleading book cover I've seen in a long time. You could be forgiven for assuming Southern Ruby is a romance novel, however what you'll find instead is a steamy mystery set in New Orleans just prior to Hurricane Katrina.

Amanda is the protagonist and the family matriarch Ruby takes her back to the 1950s to fill in details of her family history.

Southern Ruby is brimming with themes of forbidden love, identity and family, loss, class, racial conflict, jazz and burlesque dancing and I really enjoyed it. Southern Ruby also touches on an event in recent history I'm fascinated by, and that's Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans could easily be considered the third character in the novel and a place I've always been fascinated by. One of my favourite authors - Anne Rice - has expertly captured the essence of New Orleans in her writing, however Belinda Alexandra is the first author to come close to equalling her talent on the page in my opinion.

I enjoyed discovering a new (to me) Australian author in Belinda Alexandra and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!
18 November 2016

Friday Freebie to WIN a copy of Pounce by Seth Casteel

RRP $29.99 AUD
* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

This giveaway is for all you cat lovers out there so be sure to enter the giveaway below.


Photographer Seth Casteel's underwater photographs of dogs and babies have captivated an international audience. Now, Seth has found the perfect way to capture our other best friends: cats!

A beautiful, funny gift book with more than 70 previously unpublished photographs, Pounce reveals adorable cats and kittens as they pounce and jump through the air, arms outstretched - all in Casteel's signature up-close, mid-action style.

Author Bio
Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer and the author of the national bestseller Underwater Dogs, Underwater Puppies, and Underwater Babies. His photographs of babies and animals have been featured in international media. He lives in California.

This giveaway has now closed and the winner was announced here.
16 November 2016

Winner of The Tao Deception by John M. Green announced

Thanks to those who entered my international giveaway last week to win a copy of The Tao Deception by John M. Green. Entries closed at midnight on Friday 11 November and I know you've been eagerly awaiting the outcome. Without further ado, congratulations to our winner:
Anne Hutton
Congratulations Anne, you'll receive an email shortly and will have 7 days to provide me with your postal address. Thanks again to Pantera Press for this prize.

If you missed out, you can still check out the free extract here.

Carpe Librum!

14 November 2016

Personal mention in The Troubles Keeper by Susan May

You all know I love to read and review books here on Carpe Librum. What you might not know is that I have my own business and proofreading and editing is a big part of it.

So when Aussie author Susan May asked me to read and review her latest novel The Troubles Keeper and promised to include an excerpt of my review in the beginning of her book, how could I resist? 

Susan was once a book reviewer too so she just 'gets us' and promising to mention each reviewer in her book was a brilliant and irresistible incentive. I've never seen it done before, but judging by how successful it's been for Susan, I can imagine other authors employing the same approach in the future.

The image below is an excerpt from her Acknowledgements section in The Troubles Keeper and you can see my good self mentioned there.

Susan also asked reviewers to point out any typos they found along the way and has generously thanked each proofreader by name at the end of The Troubles Keeper.

As a bibliophile and lover of books, it's such a thrill to be mentioned and thanked in a book. Thanks so much to Susan May for being so generous with her reviewers and understanding what makes us bloggers tick.

Carpe Librum!
04 November 2016

Friday Freebie and Review of The Tao Deception by John M. Green

The Tao Deception by John M. Green book cover
RRP $29.99 AUD
* Copy courtesy of Pantera Press *

World leaders are being systematically assassinated by toxic gas delivered by drone, and more are threatened with the same fate.

An obscure group of Chinese terrorists claims responsibility. But are the Ten Brothers - a secret circle of China’s political, military and business elite - using these terrorists as a cover to justify the assassination of China’s President and the overthrow of Beijing as part of a plot to forge a ‘new China’? Could their attempt at a rebirth of their nation spell annihilation for the rest of the world?

Once again, ex-CIA operative, Dr Tori Swyft finds herself embroiled in the middle of this explosive conspiracy. Can she survive long enough to thwart the Ten Brothers in spite of their repeated efforts to remove her from the picture?

My Review
The Tao Deception is the second novel to feature Australian ex-spy Tori Swyft although it can easily be read as a stand alone. Packed full of action and danger and the occasional one-liners, this eco-political thriller powers along at a great speed of knots. 

Drones? Check. Spies? Check. Hackers? Check. Oh, and another bonus, my favourite character from Born to Run - Davey - is back for a few pages. He's the deaf son of President Isabel Diaz, the main character of Born to Run who also makes an appearance here.
My autographed copy of
The Tao Deception

If you like the writing style and running gun battles of Matthew Reilly or the spy thrillers of Robert Ludlum, then you'll love The Tao Deception. The book is being promoted as The Da Vinci Code meets James Bond and I don't disagree. Tori Swyft is the female James Bond. It's not my usual genre, but The Tao Deception certainly kept me entertained.

I'm in the process of interviewing the Sydney based author John M. Green for Boomerang Books at the moment, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, please enter below to win a copy of The Tao Deception for yourself or a loved one.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

This giveaway has now closed.