The House of Twenty Thousand Books by Sasha Abramsky


This is the story of Sasha Abramsky’s grandparents, Chimen and Miriam Abramsky, and of their unique home at 5 Hillway, around the corner from Hampstead Heath. In their semi-detached house, so deceptively ordinary from the outside, the Abramskys created a remarkable House of Books. It became the repository for Chimen’s collection of thousands upon thousands of books, manuscripts and other printed, handwritten and painted documents, representing his journey through the great political, philosophical, religious and ethical debates that have shaped the western world.
Chiman Abramsky was barely a teenager when his father, a famous rabbi, was arrested by Stalin’s secret police and sentenced to five years hard labour in Siberia, and fifteen when his family was exiled to London.
Lacking a university degree, he nevertheless become a polymath, always obsessed with collecting ideas, with capturing the meanderings of the human soul through the world of great thoughts and thinkers. He also made his living as a book-dealer and amassed a huge, and astonishingly rare library of literature.
Room by room, book by book, idea by idea, the world of these politically engaged intellectuals, autodidacts and dreamers is lovingly resurrected. In this extraordinary elegy to a lost world

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Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre – Book of the Week 24-10-2014

five and twentyIt’s the rule always watch your fives and twenty-fives. A bomb inside five meters cuts through the armour, killing everyone in the truck. A bomb inside twenty five meters kills the dismounted scouts investigating the road ahead. Fives and twenty-fives mark the measure of a marine’s life in the road repair platoon.

Dispatched to fill potholes on the highways of Iraq, the platoon works to assure safe passage for citizens and military personnel. Lieutenant Donavan leads the platoon, painfully aware of his shortcomings and isolated by his rank. Doc Pleasant, the medic, joined for opportunity, but finds his pride undone as he watches friends die. And there’s Kateb, known to the Americans as Dodge, an Iraqi interpreter whose love of American culture from hip-hop to the dog-eared copy of Huck Finn he carries is matched only by his disdain for what Americans are doing to his country. Returning home, they exchange one set of decisions and repercussions for another, struggling to find a place in a world that no longer knows them.

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Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford

cavendon hall

Cavendon Hall is home to two families, the aristocratic Inghams and the Swanns who serve them. Charles Ingham, the sixth Earl of Mowbray, lives there with his wife Felicity and their six children.

Walter Swann, the premier male of the Swann family, is valet to the earl. His wife Alice, a clever seamstress who is in charge of the countess’s wardrobe, also makes clothes for the four daughters. For centuries, these two families have lived side-by-side, beneath the backdrop of the imposing Yorkshire manor.

Lady Daphne, the most beautiful of the Earl’s daughters, is about to be presented at court when a devastating event changes her life and threatens the Ingham name. With World War I looming, both families will find themselves tested in ways they never thought possible.

Loyalties will be challenged and betrayals will be set into motion. In this time of uncertainty, one thing is sure: these two families will never be the same again.

Cavendon Hall is a sweeping story of secrets, intrigue and mystique set in Edwardian England.

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A.D Garrett – Mystery Fiction

Two authors team up to make up the pseudonym A.D Garrett, they are mystery writer Margaret Murphy and world-renowned forensics expert Professor Dave Barclay, who has worked on some of Britain’s most high-profile murder cases.

These forensic based books, feature Detective Inspector Kate Simms and ForensicProfessor Nick Fennimore. You would enjoy reading this series, if you like other forensic themed books from authors like Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Jefferson Bass….

Everyone Lies by A.D Garrett

everyone liesBook Blurb….

Detective Inspector Kate Simms is on the fast track to nowhere. Five years ago she helped a colleague when she shouldn’t have. She’s been clawing her way back from a demotion ever since.

Professor Nick Fennimore is a failed genetics student, chemistry graduate, toxicology specialist and one-time scientific advisor to the National Crime Faculty. He is the best there is, but ever since his wife and daughter disappeared he’s been hiding away in Scotland, working as a forensic lecturer.

In Manchester, drug addicts are turning up dead and Simms’ superior is only too pleased to hand the problem to her. Then a celebrity dies and the media gets interested. Another overdose victim shows up, but this time the woman has been systematically beaten and all identifying features removed. The evidence doesn’t add up, Simms’ superiors seem to be obstructing her investigation, and the one person she can’t afford to associate with is the one man you can help:  Fennimore.

Believe No One by A.D Garrett

believe noone


Book Blurb…

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Simms is in the United States on sabbatical with St Louis PD. She is working with a ‘method swap’ team, reviewing cold cases, sharing expertise.

Simms came to the US to escape fallout from her previous investigation working with forensic expert Professor Nick Fennimore. However Fennimore also happens to be in the States on a book tour and is engineering his trip to get down to St Louis – the last thing Simms wants . . .

But a call for help from a sheriff’s deputy in Oklahoma distracts the professor: a mother dead, her child gone. Fennimore’s quick mind rapidly gets to work, and gradually draws the conclusion this might not an isolated case. How many other young mothers have been killed, their murders unsolved, their children unaccounted for – and what of Simms’ cold case in St Louis for instance?

In Believe No One , A. D. Garrett delivers a gripping sequel to match Everyone Lies , where the chills race in the heat in America’s mid-West.

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New treats – of the cookbook kind

Some recent additions are:

Jo Seagar Bakes  by Jo Seagar

jo seager bakes

Jo Seagar is known as the Queen of Baking and now here, finally, is her first baking book – destined to become the baking bible for all New Zealand cooks.

It contains every classic recipe you will ever need – cakes, slices, bikkies, muffins — as well as new and popular favourites and updated flavours. Jo shares all her tips and helpful hints to make sure your baking works so you can feel confident about making her delicious recipes for family and friends. With a beautiful, elegant, heritage design, this book will have a special place in your bookshelf and on your kitchen bench for years to come.

Reserve Jo Seagar Bakes here


The Unbakery : Raw Organic Goodness by Megan May


The unbakery book is a celebration of the food served by the award-winning little bird unbakery.

Little bird is the creation of partners Megan May and her husband Jeremy. Megan is the chef and creator of the little bird flavour and Jeremy, an award-winning architect and designer, is the brains behind the branding.

The book encourages food lovers to try more uncooked food and shows them how they can enjoy and benefit from preparing dishes from raw, natural ingredients. All recipes are gluten, dairy and cane sugar free, along with being vegan. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the food and how the recipes can easily be incorporated into the readers’ current lifestyle.

Reserve ‘The Unbakery’ here


Matt’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook : Over 90 Recipes Celebrating Fresh, Locally Grown Produce by Matt Moran

kitchen garden cookbookAcclaimed chef Matt Moran shares his passion for local produce with this stunning collection of recipes. Inspired by the market garden at his Sydney restaurant Chiswick, as well as time spent visiting producers all around Australia for his TV series Paddock to Plate, Matt dishes up a mouth-watering selection of recipes with winning flavour combinations.

Try the fresh, palate-sharpening pickled vegetables and dukkah or seared kingfish with radish, avocado and wasabi to start with, then tuck into slow-cooked lamb with hummus, tomato salad and mint salsa. For sweet treats, look no further than apricot and rosemary tarts or berries and meringue with passionfruit curd.

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The Free Range Cook: Through the Seasons by Annabel Langbein

The ever popular Annabel is back with a stupendous selection of recipes, and I have to say I really like the sprinkling of garden advice. I very excited about the Black Velvet Cake…..

annabelBook blurb as follows….

In this gorgeous book we follow Annabel throughout an entire year of harvests in her lakeside Wanaka garden as she cooks simple but delicious meals to share with family and friends.

“I wanted to celebrate nature’s growing cycles and the rhythm of a year,” she says. “There’s a real freedom in the idea of ‘cooking the landscape’.” She combines seasonal harvests from her garden with a global pantry of flavours and her trademark Fridge Fixings to create easy dishes that are big on flavour while, with a few indulgent exceptions, light on fat and sugar. Her signature style meshes perfectly with current food trends. Over more than two decades she has earned an international following for her no-fuss recipes, which transform inexpensive seasonal ingredients into “clean” dishes with the wow factor, many of which are naturally vegetarian and/or gluten free.

The book contains more than 200 new recipes – all the dishes from the TV series and many more – as well as dozens of Annabel’s trademark kitchen and garden tips and tricks, plus substitution suggestions that allow the recipes to be made with whatever fruit or vegetables are in season. The luscious food photography, dramatic images of New Zealand scenery, stunning modern design and superb production values make this the perfect gift book for yourself or any lover of good food.

You can reserve ‘The Free Range Cook: Through the Seasons’ by Annabel Langbein here


And whilst on the topic, I just have to add that one of the very first Annabel Langbein cookbooks I purchased was ‘Savour the Pacific’ – a discovery of taste.


If you have yet to discover this gem, then i say do yourself a favour and borrow it from the library. A must bake is the ‘Coconut Passion Cake’ on page 54, its to die for. My sister had a massive version of it baked for her wedding cake, and it’s been a family favourite ever since.

You can reserve ‘Savour the Pacific’ here


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The Sunnyvale Girls by Fiona Palmer – Book of the Week 13-10-2014


Three generations of Stewart women share a deep connection to their family farm, but a secret from the past threatens to tear them apart.

Widowed matriarch Maggie remembers a time when the Italian prisoners of war came to work on their land, changing her heart and her home forever.

Single mum Toni has been tied to the place for as long as she can recall, although farming was never her dream.

And Flick is as passionate about the farm as a girl could be, despite the limited opportunities for love.

When a letter from 1946 is unearthed in an old cottage on the property, the Sunnyvale girls find themselves on a journey into their own hearts and across the world to Italy. Their quest to solve a mystery leads to incredible discoveries about each other, and about themselves.

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