Recent comments

Raiders of the Nile : a novel of the ancient world / by Saylor, Steven,

Publication: . 342 pages : 25 cm.

An adventurous comedy filled with love and history Added 09/10/2014 by

Illusion / For teenagers. by Kenyon, Sherrilyn,

Publication: . 448 pages ; 24 cm.

An exciting book, funny in places that was hard to put down. Added 09/10/2014 by

The carrier / by Hannah, Sophie,

Publication: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2013 . 419 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

It's an unlikely adventure but very absorbing with well crafted characters. A bit erratic in places and the main character is a love or hate. Added 09/10/2014 by

Elizabeth is missing / by Healey, Emma,

Publication: . 274 p. ; 21 cm.

Written with sympathy and understanding for both the aged mother with developing dementia and the caring daughter trying to deal with that in addition to her own working and family life. Added 07/10/2014 by Heather

The library : a world history / by Campbell, James W. P.,

Publication: . 320 pages : 32 cm

A fascinating and beautiful book. Wonderful photographs and text describing how libraries have changed as book production has developed and literacy has spread from being the privilege of a few educated people to being available to a more general public. Added 06/10/2014 by Heather

A song for Issy Bradley : a novel / by Bray, Carys,

Publication: . 399 pages ; 20 cm.

Author Carys Bray was brought up as Mormon and so writes with some understanding about a Mormon Bishop's family whose youngest child dies of meningitis. Each member deals with it differently and the father/bishop tries to answer their reactions with the memorised teachings of his church. But he comes to realise that that is not enough. A moving, well written and thoughtful book with moments of gentle humour, well worth reading. Added 27/09/2014 by Heather

Crimson dawn / by McDonald, Fleur,

Publication: . 394 pages ; 24 cm.

Women writers from Australia are really coming to the fore in the genre of mystery/romance, especially when it comes to writing of farming in the remote areas. This is one of those authors and one of those books. A young woman has inherited an outback farm and is successfully widening the streams of income from the land. A bitter row with her long time boyfriend and his sister leads to a possible take-over bid for her much loved farm and she has to call on all the help she can muster to combat the threat. Nicely written and very easy to read, this is another author I will be reading again. Recommended

The First of July / by Speller, Elizabeth,

Publication: . xiii, 399 pages ; 24 cm.

Centred on the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, there are four main characters - an American with an aristocratic English family, a French carpenter, an English department store salesman and a cycling enthusiast. They each experience the horrors of war in different fighting ranks and situations, slowly realising the hard realities of war. Worth reading! Added 20/09/2014 by Heather

Catching air / by Pekkanen, Sarah,

Publication: . 455 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

Going on the publisher's blurb, I had high hopes for this book. I should have known better! The story concerns two married couples who, for different reasons, come together to run a very upmarket bed and breakfast in Vermont, USA. I must say that this B & B is not like any that I've ever known! Apart from the unbelievable B &B, the characters are equally unbelievable; weak women, men who either so 'modern man' they almost sprout wings or so stupid that they should have a forked tail! I ploughed my way through to the end of this most unlikely story but I will not be reading more from this author.

Making soapies in Kabul : hot days, crazy nights and dangerous liasons in a war zone / by Tierney, Trudi-Ann,

Publication: Sydney : Allen & Unwin, 2014 . 296 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : 24 cm. Date: 2014

I did not find this book as interesting as I expected - lots of focus on the author's social life rather than the problems of Kabul. I did not finish it, Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

My mother's secret : based on a true Holocaust story / by Witterick, J. L.,

Publication: . 195 pages : 22 cm.

I found this small book engrossing. It is a tribute to the overwhelming compassion of the two women who risked personal safety to do what they saw as right despite in extremely difficult circumstances. Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

Freedom's land / by Jacobs, Anna,

Publication: London : Hodder, 2008 . 405 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2008

I think I must have read and enjoyed most of Anna Jacobs' books but this one was just a little bit of a let down. The story is fine but the writing appears somewhat laboured and probable reads more like a documentary that a novel. I could well imagine that this was written in response to a publisher's cry of 'write another book quickly' and Ms Jacobs has done just that. Not a bad book but not up to the authors usual high standard.

The turning tide / by Lance, Kate,

Publication: Sydney, N.S.W. : Arena, Allen & Unwin, 2014 . 337 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

The Turning Tide is an amazing read. I couldn't put it down. The sins of war and the aftermath, tangled family relationships, love, regrets, horror and hope - it's all here. A must read. Added 23/08/2014 by Kath

Frog music / by Donoghue, Emma,

Publication: London : Picador, 2014 . 403 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

This story shows evidence of a lot of research into life in San Francisco during the heat wave and smallpox epidemic of 1876 and the characters are based on historical records of people living at that time. There are also interesting comments on relevant song titles used as chapter headings. All makes this an intriguing book, but a bit spoilt for me by some over-descriptive sexual scenes. Added 21/08/2014 by Heather

The secret life of James Cook / by Lay, Graeme,

Publication: . 368 pages : 24 cm

This book and its sequel James Cook's New World' are accounts of the life of this justly famous sailor, navigator and explorer put together as a novel. Written by NZ author, Graeme Lay, this strategy works splendidly, bringing the both the private and professional life of this remarkable man brilliantly to life. Equally, it highlights the very real drawbacks of the life of a seaman in the 18th century, including the great difficulties and sorrows it caused his wife, Elizabeth, and his children. Few of his children survived to adulthood and their mother had to bear these losses on her own. The books do not minimise these problems in any way but they also show the great pleasure and satisfaction that Cook gained from his life. His great care for those under him, including all the common sailors who sailed with him, shows him to have been a man of high principles and who lived by those principles. Cook's great love of the sea and his equally great love for his wife meant that he had to choose between them and, as we know, the sea was the winner. These books are obviously the result of a great deal of research and are written so well that they are very easy to read, gallop along like a good story and, at the same time, a great deal of knowledge of the times, navigation, the sea and sailing is being absorbed by the reader almost without realising it. Lay is a prolific writer in a number of genre and I am surprised that I haven't come across him before. I believe he is writing a third in the series and I will be looking out for this as well as other of his books. I cannot recommend these books too highly, both as great reads and for their insight into the lives of many people who had great influence in the founding of New Zealand.

Nightshade / by Leather, Stephen,

Publication: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2013 . 425 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

heart gripping occult drama. The interaction between all the characters to make this a book I needed to get to the end so that all would be put right again. Not to be read before bed. I wondered why I choose this as its a bit scary. Added 14/08/2014 by Gail

The broken places / by Atkins, Ace,

Publication: . 358 pages : 24 cm.

Hillbillies in todays world I didn't finish this book. Added 14/08/2014 by Gail

Life or death / by Robotham, Michael,

Publication: . 434 pages ; 24 cm.

Not part of the Joe O'loughlin series..Disappointiing.

Added 10/08/2014 by Kath

The turning tide / by Lance, Kate,

Publication: Sydney, N.S.W. : Arena, Allen & Unwin, 2014 . 337 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

Kate Lance fooled me absolutely with this book. I don't like books written in the present tense and I'm not keen on books that go back and forth in time. This book does both of these things and yet I couldn't put it down. Dealing with all sorts of problems left over from the second world war, it encompasses a range of emotions from guilt to love, from great humour to great sadness. It is not afraid to talk about issues such as homosexuality, brutality and torture and extra marital love. The main character is an Australian academic who goes to Timor as part of the Australian war effort against the Japanese, survives the horror of that and then goes to Japan to find his first love in the debris of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Back in Australia his past comes back to haunt him and he has to cope with all of his long-held guilt and inhibitions. Beautifully crafted, fully believable characters, good and bad and a really good read, I cannot recommend this book too highly.

Ocean child / by McKinley, Tamara,

Publication: London : Quercus, 2013 . 393 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

Trying a new (to me) Australian author is a bit of an act of faith for me as I have been disappointed so often by the totally over-the-top 'Australianess' in both language and actions. Not this time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a good tale mainly set in the 1920s with occasional, short flashbacks to Australia in the 1880s. Starting in London and moving to Tasmania, it features a young and beautiful artist and her search for her family. Involving love and hatred, both are treated with restraint but both are also brought vividly alive. Featuring both the horse training and the art world, this is fairly simple tale that holds your interest until the very end. I will be borrowing more by this writer. Recommended

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