Recent comments

New Hokkaido / by McNaughton, James,

Publication: . 224 pages ; 21 cm

What if Japan had occupied NZ in World War 2? James McNaughton imagines this then sets his novel in 1987 in a still occupied NZ. The concept is fascinating and much of the detail amusing or thought provoking (eg clandestine NZ Culture meetings with sausage rolls, pavs and bush shirts). The plot is somewhat convoluted with many aspects - crime, justice, prejudice, sex, rock n roll - and I had a sense of it being a much longer (first) novel edited down so some continuity is lacking. Explicit sex scenes remain and for me they could have been condensed as I wanted the story to continue rather than take time for this. Still, it is great to see NZ publishing trying something different and worth reading just to make you think 'what if?'. Added 12/04/2015 by Kaye

Big little lies / by Moriarty, Liane,

Publication: . 679 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.

Loved reading this book. It was well written with many colourful characters, couldn't wait to find out what happened at the end. Added 08/04/2015 by Jacqui

The skeleton road / by McDermid, Val,

Publication: . 406 pages ; 24 cm.

My first Val McDermid novel and I was expecting a 'who dunnit' with a Scottish setting. I got that - and more. This story is baou the Balkans War and the crimes it deals in are more complex and far reaching than a 'simple' murder. Its about justice, revenge, loss and death. The war history is revealed as it is entwined with a current Scottish murder investigation. Not an easy read but worth it. Added 06/04/2015 by Kaye

Gentlemen formerly dressed / by Gentill, Sulari,

Publication: Neutral Bay, N.S.W. : Pantera Press, 2013 . 361 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

I enjoyed this book and, like Roger, I'd like to read more. It is book 5 in the Rowland Sinclair series but reads very well as a a standalone novel. Its setting and the use of (probably fictitious) newspaper articles from the time make it of deeper interest than the usual suspense novel - but it still has plenty of pace and plot to keep the reader turning the pages. An Australian author and one I will look out for. Kaye Added 06/04/2015 by Kaye

Laughing all the way to the Mosque : the misadventures of a Muslim woman / by Nawaz, Zarqa,

Publication: . 221 pages ; 23 cm

A book which is both amusing and informative, as it tells the story of a girl born in England and her fight to be more Western than her conservative Pakistani parents but also at the same time more Islamic - defending both women's rights and her faith. Added 06/04/2015 by Heather

Runaway / by May, Peter,

Publication: . 424 pages ; 24 cm.

Nostalgia for the Baby Boomers - loved it! Four lads run away from home in the early 60s to form a band. Their adventures in London and the consequences today. Great read. Added 06/04/2015 by Kath

The beautiful mystery / by Penny, Louise,

Publication: London : Sphere, 2012 . 376 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2012

This is an amazing story - I couldn't put it down. Music, love, murder, the Catholic church, long-lost monks - it's all here. I have read previous books in this series but none of them match up to this. Added 03/04/2015 by Kath

In touch with Grace / by Pattrick, Jenny,

Publication: Auckland, N.Z. : Black Swan, 2006 . 222 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2006

Yet another great book by this New Zealand author. This one is set in a middle class suburb and concerns the life of Grace, an elderly widow. She belongs to the local bowls club and this is where she finds most of her social interaction but she also has a very good friend in Mildred, another widow. She comes across an old flame and breaks the calm flow of her very even life when they become friends in the nicest possible way. The author brings her characters to life and the reader becomes their friend, so well does she capture the ups and downs of old age. A lovely book and very highly recommended

Heartland / by Pattrick, Jenny,

Publication: . 328 pages ; 24 cm.

I've read two earlier books by Jenny Pattrick (The Denniston Rose and The Landing) and thoroughly enjoyed them both but I found this book very, very different from the those two. Heartland is set in a very typical, rural, very small town in the centre of the North Island and concerns the lives of the residents as they interact with each other. Filled with great characters, all close to the breadline, they help each other wherever they can. The characters are beautifully and sympathetically drawn with great good humour. A lady who cooks dinner at home and then carries it, in a wheelbarrow, to a lonely friend on the other side of the town, three elderly spinsters and a rather simple young man. As you read, you cannot help but become friendly with all these somewhat odd characters who are getting on with their lives in the best way they can. Lovely snatches of comedy enliven this lovely book. Very highly recommended.

The emperor far away : travels at the edge of China / by Eimer, David,

Publication: . 322 pages ; 24 cm

A fascinating book! Full of information about people and places well beyond the usual traveller's writing. David Eimer has become familiar with the distant regions of China as he has visited them over the years and records his personal encounters with people and his understanding of the political changes of the past as well as present developments. Well worth reading but needs concentration! Love the cover - look at it carefully then read the back cover to identify it. Added 08/03/2015 by Heather

The girl in the yellow vest / by Hill, Loretta,

Publication: . 384, 10 pages ; 24 cm.

This is the first romantic novel of Loretta Hill's that I have read, she sets them in an engineering background which is unusual but her knowledge of this world allows her to write about being a woman in this mainly men's domain. It was a predictable storyline but easy to read and while away a few hours. So if you are looking for romance in a different setting and based in Australia look out for this author she has written three of these novels so far . Lynne

Added 01/03/2015 by Lynne

The bawdy basket / by Marston, Edward,

Publication: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002 . 262 p. ; 22 cm. Date: 2002

This is a good mystery set around the Elizabethan age and the hero detective Nicholas Bracewell is a member of a band of Thespians. He sets out to help a fellow actor and friend clear his fathers name after he is executed for a murder he did not commit. The scenes are set well and the flavour of the time is captured nicely. No gratuitous violence just a good old fashioned murder mystery. A good set of characters who it would appear are to be found in other novels by Edward Marston I intend to seek them out. So if you enjoy historical crime and an easy read look for this author and enjoy the read. Added 08/02/2015 by Lynne

The Italian wife / by Furnivall, Kate,

Publication: . 376 pages ; 24 cm.

I have just finished reading this gripping novel. It is set in the early years of Mussolini 's Italy around 1930s and has a lot of historical background. There is a romance at the heart of the story but there are also sub plots, treachery and intrigue . Once I started I had difficulty putting it down so be warned . I am off to see what else this author has written.

Added 06/02/2015 by Lynne

The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store / by Riccioni, Jo,

Publication: . 336 pages ; 21 cm.

Set in England and Italy in 1949, the arrival of an Italian family in an English village intrigues a young shop assistant and opens her eyes to a wider world and greater ambitions. She becomes aware of the cruelty of local gossip and entranced by the mural painting of one of the Italians. The story also reveals the horrifying impact the war has had on Italian civilians. Written with a carefully observed sense of history and setting. Added 05/02/2015 by Heather

Dishonour / by Lord, Gabrielle,

Publication: . 372 pages ; 24 cm.

Have waited a long time for another adult book by Lord. Dishonour doesn't disappoint. Added 25/01/2015 by Kath

Mr Wigg / by Simpson, Inga,

Publication: Sydney : Hachette Australia, 2013 . 296 p. ; 21 cm. Date: 2013

A lovely gentle story of a newly-widowed elderly man, missing his wife, reminiscing about their past family life, enjoying his grandchildren's visits and cooking with them, caring for his large orchard and garden and working on a secret project for his community. Added 04/01/2015 by Heather

Dinner at Rose's / by Hawkins, Danielle,

Publication: Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Arena/Allen & Unwin, 2012 . 409 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2012

I loved this story it was full of great characters and well set in New Zealand. It was natural and easy to read and I hope this author has written more novels. It dealt with a feisty aunt who calls a spade a spade - and her niece who is recovering from a broken engagement. Cancer raises it's ugly head too but in a realistic manner. Well worth reading give it a go over summer. Lynne Added 29/12/2014 by Lynne

Amber Scott is starting over / by Saberton, Ruth,

Publication: Oxford : ISIS, 2013 . 466 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

The central character of this novel is an almost 30 year old woman, doing extremely well in the dog eats dog field of magazine publishing and engaged to a lawyer. At the same time she has an engaging openness and naivety which makes her very appealing. To suit her fiancée they move from her beloved London to the depths of the country in Cornwall, which, against all her expectations, she actually begins to enjoy. Meeting some great men is a bonus, even though she does her best to stay true to her fiancée until it turns out he has a mistress who is now pregnant. All ends happily, of course. There is some bad language but, generally, the story romps light heartedly along with many 'chuckle worthy' moments. A very light weight book but one which I enjoyed immensely. Recommended romantic/comic reading.

Personal / by Child, Lee,

Publication: London : Bantam Press, 2014 . 432 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

A very satisfactory tale of international intrigue and more dead baddies than you can shake a stick at! Added 14/12/2014 by Kath

Rosalee station / by Magro, Mandy,

Publication: Camberwell, Vic. : Penguin Books, 2012 . 281 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2012

Not much to say about this book but do Australian farmers really talk like that? Not the ones I've met. This book consists of more slang than standard language and I found it very hard to cope with. No more, please!

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