LEAST WE FORGET…………..

Posted: April 25, 2016 in greetings
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pegasu

Nicolas and Alex are best friends, aristocratic German widowers raising children in 1930s Europe, both enjoy horses and Alex breeds Lippanzers.  When war breaks out neither are too worried as their prestigious ancestry protects them somewhat.  Then Nick finds out a devastating family secret that means death for him and his sons.  Forced to flee, they head to America with eight purebred horses – two of them Lippanzers – a gift from Alex.

The beautiful Lippanzer stallion Pegasus enables Nick to gain a new job with the famous Ringling Brothers circus, where he instantly becomes besotted with a graceful high-wire performer half his age. Terrified she performs without a net, he plain to move to California to breed horses but Christianna won’t leave the only life she’s known – the circus.

Back in Austria Alex his daughter face escalating danger and he smuggles her to the safety of England by bribing a Nazi official with a Lippanzer.  Alex then starts helping Jews escape to Switzerland and after a few years is caught blowing up a munitions train and shot.

The families lose contact and the circus stories become made-up legends, until a horse auction in England featuring a Lippanzer stallion named Pegasus causes Nick’s grandson – Alex – and Alex’s great-granddaughter – Nicola – to cross paths.

Another easy read following the Danielle Steel formula and with the mandatory HEA.  If you’re a Danielle Steel fan you’ll enjoy this book,a

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Delicious Feel Good FoodI’m going to begin this review with a note to authors… don’t believe everything you read on the internet. It’s a small thing, but when I read “The health benefits of Manuka honey have been known to indigenous cultures for millennia,” my immediate thought was “That’s impossible”. It’s improbable because Manuka is native to New Zealand, the Maori arrived here between 1250 and 1300, and more importantly, honey bees were introduced by European settlers in 1839 (and to Australia in 1822). And though Native Australians ate honey from native bees, it’s unlikely it was Manuka honey, because those bees produce only enough honey for themselves in the cooler climes where Manuka grows. But I did find this on an Australian web site, “This healing honey has been known to New Zealand’s indigenous cultures for thousands of years.” Go figure.

The book itself is a very large format paperback, and I’m concerned that the binding would not stand up to a great deal of abuse. The content is cheerfully presented with lots of colour photographs. And the ingredient list is not too unusual, as long as you have plenty of coconut products to hand. I tried the Pot-roasted Chicken with Chilli and Coconut Milk and was reasonably pleased with the result, although I would have liked it better if the sauce had thickened more. The “total bakeover” section predictably falls into the “gluten is bad for you” trap, and is afflicted with lots of almond meal and maple syrup. However there is a Banana and Fig Bread made with relatively normal ingredients that I do want to try.

The book’s major flaw is its index, which is next to useless. I need to know that the chicken recipe I want is listed under “mains”, and it is then under “p” for pot-roast, not “c” for chicken. In fact, I’d expect to find all the chicken recipes together under “c” for chicken, as well as under their individual alphabetical entries. Somebody really should have fixed this!

So, it’s another very trendy cookbook, but with a number of interesting ideas, some of them more practical (and easier on the budget) than others. And lots of coconut.

ABC Books

Supplied by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

Posted: March 17, 2016 in Review, science fiction
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Aurora

About a quarter of the way through this book, I came to the conclusion that this has to be about the most depressing novel about interstellar exploration ever written. I’m aware that it’s hard; that there will be many problems and difficulties that must be faced by anyone who attempts to explore beyond our solar system, but Mr Robinson, do you really need to lay it on with such a large trowel? Consequently, I found the book to be really tough going, especially in the middle when everything is falling apart – literally. If there is one concept that dominates this novel it is entropy, to such an extent that I doubt if I’ll ever read a generation ship story in quite the same light ever again.

As the story begins, the ship is approaching Tau Ceti, where a world believed to be lifeless and having an oxygen atmosphere orbits a gas giant in the star’s habitable zone. As you may have guessed, it doesn’t turn out to be a simple matter of land and set up your colony. It’s a whole lot harder than that, but to go into further detail would be to give away too much of the story…

To tell the truth, I have every expectation of seeing this novel nominated for a Hugo next year. It may even win. Robinson has done a fine job of writing hard science fiction – his research is impeccable, and I don’t doubt his numbers (there are an awful lot of them, by the way). But while I will remember this novel a lot longer than most, I have to confess that I didn’t exactly enjoy reading it.

Orbit

Supplied b Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

WARP 3

I enjoyed Colfer’s Artemis Fowl stories (Yes, I know they’re fairy stories, they’re written for kids, and you know perfectly well that I don’t care, because they’re that good), so I thought I might try this. Unfortunately it’s the third book of a trilogy – which rather threw me in the deep end of the wormhole, but Colfer was clever enough to include a brief “Need to Know” introduction, which explains the background. And a bizarre background it is. WARP stands for Witness Anonymous Relocation Programme, which is what you think it is… and not. Because Professor Charles Smart figured out how to mess with quantum physics to create wormholes into the past – and when the FBI found out about it they decided to use it to stash important witnesses back in history. But Professor Smart didn’t really understand what he was doing, nor does anyone else, and now he’s gone missing… And then there’s the unpredictable weird stuff that keeps happening to people who pass through the wormhole. You can see the potential for trouble. And then, Colfer throws in a couple of clever kids to save the world from a psychotic Victorian villain, who has been let loose to cause havoc across history.

As you might imagine, this book is a whole lot of fun. Colfer has a seriously warped sense of humour, and a talent for action. The youthful lead characters here are well-crafted (and more sympathetic than Artemis Fowl ever was). The villain is an absolute nutter, no bones about it. As for how it all works out in the end… very clever, Mr Colfer.

Puffin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

The Long Utopia

Having begun by opening the way to the Long Earth, destroying much of the world we know by blowing up the Yellowstone supervolcano, and going on explore Mars, you had to wonder what Pratchett and Baxter were going to do next with their gigantic imaginary playground. The Long Earth is, for those who haven’t encountered it before, their take on the many Earths hypothesis, only they’ve gone for empty worlds as opposed to alternate histories. And Pratchett and Baxter have had a lot of fun creating some interesting characters and then letting them loose to explore the possibilities. Not to mention potatoes…

What they decided to do in the Long Utopia was to send some of their major characters out to New Springfield on Earth West 1,217,756, there to begin home-steading. Only, it’s not so simple, and by a very long coincidence (or not at all by chance) that world has intersected something very nasty, very invasive, and potentially able to destroy all of the many Earths and with them all of humanity if it is allowed to spread. Somehow it must be stopped, and to save the worlds, sacrifices must be made.

There is much that is great and grand about the Long Earth. The characters are well-crafted, and the writing is excellent. But there is something missing. It feels like two great writers at play, wondering what they should do next, with no real objective other than exploration. Will there be any resolution to all of their assorted plot-lines? Well, there is one last long earth novel to come.

Published by Doubleday

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

th game of lives

This book is the third novel in James Dashner’s “Mortality Doctrine” series, and the climax. It concludes the series in a satisfying way that is wonderful to read about. I cannot stress enough about the importance of reading these books in order. There is a lot to keep track of, and lots of things to think about while reading the book, and it will get confusing. Even more so if you don’t read in order.

The story continues following Sarah, Michael, and Bryson, and their fight to defeat Kaine and the VNS. In the last book the three friends became suspicious about the VNS, and their suspicions led them into strife and the partnership with the VNS was terminated. Yet the trouble continued, Kaine’s mortality doctrine programme has been uploading more tangents (AI programs) into more humans, and the world is slowly losing balance. It’s now up to the three friends and the resistance force to defeat Kaine and the VNS, and destroy the doctrine once and for all…

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a wonderful, suspenseful read that I couldn’t put down. Although I hadn’t read the books in a while, the story gave light exposition that told me everything I needed to know to be involved. The action was tense, the emotions were heavy, and it really was just another wonderful Dashner bestseller.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. James Dashner has produced another brilliant work, I recommend this book to anyone who is already familiar with the series, and is ready for the third one. Or for anyone who enjoys well-written, action-packed stories with great design.

Corgi

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Dylan