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Book Reviews


Bellagrand - Paullina Simons (Harpercollins) - for lovers of romance
From Paullina Simons who brought you the unforgettable The Bronze Horseman comes the much-anticipated sequel to Children of Liberty.
They gave up everything to be together, but love was just the beginning &Italian immigrant Gina, independent, compassionate and strong, desperately wants a family. Boston blue-blood Harry, idealistic and political, wants to create a better world. Bound together by tormented passion, they rail, rage, and break each other's hearts, only to come face to face with a stark final choice that will forever determine their destiny. Their journey takes them through four decades and two continents, through triumph and turmoil, from the wooden planks of the troubled immigrant town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to the marble halls and secret doors of a mystical place called &Bellagrand.

Sycamore Row - John Grisham (Hachette) - crime/thriller - perfect for Dad/hubby/brother
Jake Brigance has never met Seth Hubbard, or even heard of him, until the old man's suicide note names him attorney for his estate. The will is dynamite. Seth has left ninety per cent of his vast, secret fortune to his housemaid.The vultures are circling

The New Zealand Cycle Trails Nga Haerenga: A Guide to New Zealand's 23 Great Rides by Jonathan Kennett (RandomHouse) - great gift for the active person 
Nga Haerenga - the New Zealand Cycle Trails - began as a vision to inspire people to experience New Zealand's great outdoors by bike. This book will show you how to enjoy the trails; expert writer Jonathan Kennett knows them like the back of his hand. It's stuffed full of useful information on the different trails - how to get there, what you will see, level of difficulty, things to take, places to eat and places to stay. There is fascinating background information on each area - its history and the local flora and fauna - as well on the ride itself. There is also a highly practical section full of advice on choosing the right bike, gear to take, cell phone coverage in the different areas, weather and the best times of year for each trail, environmental care and useful websites.


SENSE & SENSIBILITY by Joanna Trollope (Harper Collins) - a modern day reworking of the classic. 'Chick-lit with a twist' - perfect for sister, daughter, Mums, and Joanna Trollope fans
The long-awaited contemporary reworking of Jane Austen's classic. Two sisters could hardly be more different. Elinor Dashwood, an architecture student, values discretion above all. Her impulsive sister Marianne displays her creativity everywhere as she dreams of going to art school. But when the family finds itself forced out of Norland Park, their beloved home for twenty years, their values are severely put to the test. Can Elinor remain stoic knowing that the man she likes has been ensnared by another girl? Will Marianne's faith in love be shaken by meeting the hottest boy in the county? And when social media is the controlling force at play, can love ever triumph over conventions and disapproval? Joanna Trollope casts Sense & Sensibility in a fresh new light, re-telling a coming-of-age story about young love and heartbreak, and how when it comes to money especially, some things never change&

I am Malala - Malala Yousafzai (Hachette) - perfect read/gift for the young wannabe activist in your life&.but also an enlightening read for all.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Demon Dentist - David Walliams (HarperCollins) - one for the kids
Next new stellar fiction title from number-one bestselling Lord of Laughter, David Walliams.
"Darkness had come to the town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find& a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil was at work. But who or what was behind it&? Read this book and find out!"

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan 
Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement is a sweeping, evocative epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese village. Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement resurrects pivotal episodes in history: from the collapse of China's last imperial dynasty, to the rise of the Republic, the explosive growth of lucrative foreign trade and anti-foreign sentiment, to the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreign "Shanghailanders" living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.

The Embassy of Cambdia' by Zade Smith
A rare and brilliant story from Zadie Smith, taking us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, Zadie Smith's absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions.

Revenge by Martina Cole

Thrilling. Compulsive. Dangerous. REVENGE is the brand new novel from the phenomenal No. 1 bestselling author Martina Cole. Michael Flynn is untouchable in a world of power, money and violence.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Aged thirteen, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend.

Jennifer Saunders: The Biography

Jennifer was born 6 July 1958 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, UK. Her mother was a biology teacher, and her father served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. In 1977, she attended the Central School of Speech and Drama where she met her comedy partner Dawn French. After graduating Jennifer began her career at The Comedy Store in London, and it was during this time she was to meet comedian, actor and writer Adrian Edmondson, who would later become her husband

Bridget Jones : Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

What do you do when your girlfriend's sixtieth birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend's thirtieth? Is it better to die of Botox or die of loneliness because you're so wrinkly? Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating? Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice? Is it normal to be too vain to put on your reading glasses when checking your toy boy for head lice? Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant? Is it normal to get fewer followers the more you tweet? Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood? If you put lip plumper on your hands do you get plump hands?

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speakingeach believes he is the true color of the sun.

Blue by Brandy Wehinger

Blue is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans live in colonies high above the ground and have forgotten a lot of what pre-zombie life was like, for instance there are no cell phones or internet etc. Told through a small collection of voices whose stories unfold and then tie-in together, this is a fresh and modern read which races along and keeps the reader enthralled right to the end.

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfields father promised he wouldnt go away to fight but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesnt know where his father might be, other than that hes away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at Kings Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his fathers name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . .

Longbourn by Jo Baker

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah's hands are chapped and bleeding. Domestic life below stairs, ruled tenderly and forcefully by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman smelling of the sea, and bearing secrets. For in Georgian England, there is a world the young ladies in the drawing room will never know, a world of poverty, love, and brutal war.

The Virgin And The Whale by Carl Nixon

It is 1919. Elizabeth Whitman is working as a nurse in the local hospital, waiting for her husband to return from war, though he is missing in action, presumed dead'. She keeps him alive for their four-year-old son, Jack, by telling the story of a man she calls The Balloonist, who went away in a hot-air balloon and has adventures in exotic countries.

Joe Victim by Paul Cleave

Joe Middleton has a lot on his plate, to say the least. Arrested for a whole slew of murders he says he cant remember, Joea.k.a. the Christchurch Carverhas been in jail for the last year awaiting trial, charged with the task of convincing the psychiatrists interviewing him that he wasnt of sound mind and cant be blamed for what he did. And, incredibly, thats the least of his worries.

Never Go Back by Lee Child

Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meetin personthe new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isnt Turner behind the COs desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about. When threatened, you can run or fight.

The Never List

For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the Never List: a list of actions to be avoided, for safetys sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

The Road Between Us by Nigel Farndale

From the author of the acclaimed The Blasphemer, a stunning new novel ranging from forbidden love in World War Two to the painful return of a man kept hostage in today's Afghanistan



A moving novel about survival, redemption and forbidden love.

Perfect by Rachel Joyce







In 1972, two seconds are added to time. In the same year two small boys, each with golden futures, are catapulted by a momentary, catastrophic event onto very different paths...The two events fuse together in a ten-year-old mind to leave the all-consuming question: is the addition of time to blame?

Cross Fingers by Paddy Richardson

Life has taken a sudden turn for the worse for TV journalist Rebecca Thorne. Her romantic holiday ended with a proposal... then a break up. Now her ex, Rolly, seems to be stalking her. Her boss has taken her off the investigation of a shady property developer, just when things were heating up, and he's charged her with producing a doco on the 1981 Springbok tour. How is she supposed to find a fresh angle on a story that has been hashed to death? As she learns more about the 81 tour Rebecca becomes fascinated by two anonymous protesters called Lambs and the disappearance of one of them.







Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet and a fisherman's wife, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland's bucolic Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when a fan letter arrives from an American college student, David Graham. As the two strike up a correspondence - sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets - their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I moves across Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he comes back alive.June 1940: More than twenty years later, at the start of World War II, Elspeth's daughter, Margaret, has fallen for her best friend, a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against finding love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn't understand. And after a nearby bomb rocks Elspeth's house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter, sent decades before by a stranger named David Graham, remains as a clue to Elspeth's whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover who David is and where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago . . .

Golden Boy by Abigail Tartellin







Max Walker is the golden boy. He's the perfect son, the perfect friend and the perfect crush for the girls at his school. He's attractive, he's intelligent, he's athletic. Max Walker has a terrible secret. If his secret gets out, his perfect life will be blown apart. The consequences are unimaginable. But someone knows his secret, someone close to him&.

Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel







As American astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from shy military spouses to American royalty: having tea with Jackie Kennedy, attending high society galas, and being featured on the cover of Life magazine. Together they rallied to form the Astronaut Wives Club, which has now turned into over 40 years of enduring friendship. Sexy and sophisticated, rich in melodrama, and set against the uniquely atmospheric backdrop of the Space Race, this is the real story behind some of America's biggest heroes, chronicling their romantic, domestic, and public dramas during the Mad Men era.

Maya's Notebook by Isabelle Allende (Harper Collins)







Neglected by her parents, nineteen-year-old Maya Nidal has grown up in Berkeley with her grandparents. When her Popo dies of cancer, Maya goes completely off the rails, turning to drugs, alcohol, and petty crime in a downward spiral that eventually bottoms out in Las Vegas. Lost in a dangerous underworld, she is caught in the crosshairs of warring forces. Her one chance for survival is Nini, who helps her escape to a remote island off the coast of Chile. Here Maya tries to make sense of the past, unravels mysterious truths about life and about her family, and embarks on her greatest adventure: the journey into her own soul.







Big Brother - Lionel Shriver

From the acclaimed author of the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin comes a striking new novel about siblings, marriage, and obesity. When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn't recognize him. In the four years since the siblings last saw each other, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened? Big Brother is about fat-an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much we'll sacrifice to rescue single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.







The Puppet Boy of Warsaw by Eva Weaver (Hachette) 







The story of Mika, a Jewish boy who inherits a coat from his grandfather and discovers a puppet in one of its many secret pockets. He becomes a puppeteer in the Warsaw ghetto, but when his talent is discovered, Mika is forced to entertain the occupying German troops instead of his countrymen.  Gripping and heartbreaking in equal measure, this is a story of courage and redemption, and marks the arrival of an important new talent.







The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch







When Sugar Wallace arrives in Manhattan with nothing but a hive full of bees, a mysterious past and an insistence on good manners and honey, life starts to change for all her needy neighbours and, finally, with the help of a certain busy Queen, even for Sugar herself. A novel about love, honey, manners and new beginnings, in the vein of AMELIE and CHOCOLAT.







Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Hachette)







On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunnes fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nicks clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River.  Nick is oddly evasive, and hes definitely bitterbut is he really a killer?







Anticipation by Tanya Moir (Randomhouse).







Janine's mother had an obsession: her ancestry. But what she uncovered was a colourful assortment of characters and their penchant for cruelty and abuse. When her mother dies, Janine continues the genealogical search. She buys a run-down house on a tiny island, where she sits and writes up the stories of her forebears, worrying whether the damaging genes have been passed on....







Lifesaving for Beginners by Ciara Geraghty







Kat Kavanagh is not in love. She has lots of friends, an ordinary job, and she never ever thinks about her past. This is Kat's story. None of it is true. Milo McIntyre loves his mam, the peanut-butter-and-banana muffins at the Funky Banana cafe, and the lifesaving class he does after school. He never thinks about his future, until the day it changes forever. This is Milo's story. All of it is true. And then there is the other story. The one with a twist of fate which somehow brings together a boy from Brighton and a woman in Dublin, and uncovers the truth once and for all.







The Worlds Most Dangerous Place by James Fergusson.







Award-winning journalist James Fergusson is among the few to have witnessed the devastating reality of life in the failed and desperate state of Somalia at first hand.  Fergusson takes us to the heart of the struggle and gives a unique account of a country ravaged by war, considers what the future might hold for a generation whove grown up knowing little else and exposes the reality of life in this hard, often forgotten land.

 


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