Archive for May, 2014

the princess and the foal

Haya is a princess of Jordan, her father is the king. After suffering the loss of her adored mother, she is tremendously quiet and sinks into a depression and doesn’t show any joy in life. Desperately worried her father   searches for a way to make her smile again, and gifts her a two day old foal for her birthday. Haya is responsible for the foal and if she lives or dies which she takes seriously, sleeping in the stables to give her nightly feeds. The foal thrives on her attention and Haya names her Bint Al-Reeh, Daughter of the Wind in Arabic, Bree for short.

Haya spends the next few years learning to ride so that when Bree is broken in she is ready to teach her. Finally the day comes and they love being with each other. Then Haya learns she is being sent to England to continue her schooling, leaving behind her beloved home, family, and Bree. At first desperately lonely, Haya makes friends and learns to showjump, showing a natural talent for it. After her grief at her mother death finally shows she is sent back home where she is determined to win The King’s Cup.

Based on the life of Princess Haya of Jordan, an international showjumper who represented Jordan in the Olympics, this book is a must read for any pony-obsessed girl. There is a triumphant ending and lots of horsey speak, and a young girl beating macho mean. It’s good to see how Haya made her own rules in a male-dominated society and her father, the king, obviously adored her. An awe-inspiring woman.

HarperCollins Children’s Book

Supplied by HarperCollins New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan


bad blood

Bad Blood is Arne Dahl’s second book about A Gruppen or, if you prefer the English the Intercrime Group and was originally released in Sweden in 1998. That small piece of data is important because until I had checked the fine print inside the fly leaf I was suffering not a small amount of confusion as to time and place for the action of the story – as so much has changed in the fifteen years that passed before this book was translated into English.

The novel is a police procedural about a serial killer newly landed in Sweden from the United States of America. But there is something very unusual about this killer, he went quiet for fifteen years before starting up again and no one knows why. The members of A Gruppen were assembled to solve a series of murders a year ago and have grown rusty and restless since the dust settled on that investigation. Now there is a new case to reinvigorate the team. And so it goes.

Besides the dislocation caused by reading something I hadn’t released was a bit dated I found this book difficult to warm to. It is written in a very tele-visual style that would lend itself to easy translation to the small screen (which has already happened to five of the books in the series) but can make for a disjointed reading experience. And because A Gruppen is a team of investigators each member has his or her chapter or three as lead character – not in itself a bad thing but just when I was warming to a character they would fade to the background as spotlight shifted to another team member. But around halfway the action and the interest picked up and Bad Blood developed into a real page turner.

In some not something I would whole heartedly recommend, but not an author I would shun either. And next time I shall check the original publication date so I don’t start wondering about the author’s use of anachronisms.

Harvill Secker

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Simon

a perfect moment

“When life threatens perfect, it’s time to step up and kick life in the balls.”

Ella’s perfect moment was taken from her is the worst possible way. Humiliated, heart broken and absolutely determined not to allow her heart be destroyed for a second time, she builds an ice wall around her heart.

Preston has known that he was in love his big sister’s best friend since the age of fifteen. Over ten years on, and an opportunity to be her knight in shining armour is too good to miss. Putting his heart on the line, he’s on a mission to show Ella that the perfect moment is possible.

Ella’s instinct is to run when she realises her feelings for her bestie’s little brother may just run a little bit deeper than just friends. But if she can’t run, she’ll try every trick in the book to shake off his affection and realign his feelings.

She already had her perfect moment, and there is no chance she’ll let her heart thaw for Preston. No matter how good he looks in the firefighter’s Christmas calendar.

*** Contains steamy-hot moments, romance, friendship and a bulk load of swearing – non explicit sex scenes. ***

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 About the author

Spending the last few years near the Queensland coast, Becca is rarely out of the sea or off the beach. Dragging her long board with her and her overworked Kindle Fire, Becca enjoys her three addictions: reading, surfing and ogling surfers, one of whom is her husband of ten years.

She can still be found regularly on the beach with her family. Becca tends to leave the surfing to her boys; she’s far too busy immersed in her own writing or, of course, with her head still buried in a new read.






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speed freak

Archie is a top go-kart driver, aiming to win the Challenge series and go to Europe to race. His dad help with the kart, and he has a lt of family support for his racing. Then his dad’s girlfriend, who hates any type of motor racing, moves in with her son Felix. She forbids Archie to get her son involved in racing but Felix has other ideas. Archie is chasing a sponsorship deal for his racing, keeping up with school, work, training, and friends. So he’s bit busy but makes time to be a big brother to Felix.

Silver has recently returned to racing and drives like there’s a demon inside her, proving dangerous to other drivers. Kyla is a fellow driver and Archie finds he likes her in a different way than his other driver mates.

Craig is Archie’s main rival in the Challenge and is competing for the same sponsorship deal. Having a rich father, he doesn’t really need itbut he likes to win. How far would he go though?

Fleur Beale has a talent for making me absorbed in a story about something I have no interest in – go-kart racing this time. I couldn’t put it down, reading it in one sitting. The plot has lots of action, a tiny bit of teenage romance, and likeable characters you want to succeed.   There’s a range of issues that teens deal with in the story; blended families, friendships, girl/boyfriend, how to deal with pressure. This book will appeal to both boys and girls, as well as anyone who appreciates talented writers.

Random House

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Set Me Free Cover

Cover Reveal!

Release Day May 18th!

Hunted by a crooked FBI agent who killed her parents, Lucy has taken on one disguise after the next.

But Zach knows exactly who she is and in spite of mounting evidence indicating her guilt in her parents’ death, he knows she’s innocent.

Convinced that it’s time to put her years on the run behind her, Zach and Lucy vow to fight back, clear her name, and take down the real killer.

With support from Zach’s loyal friends and his uncle, an investigative reporter, they set out on a dangerous mission hoping that the truth…will set them free.

Set Me Free ( Pre Order )



( Releases May 18th 2014 )

Set Me Free PROMO 4

Haven’t read book #1 yet?! Grab it today!

ilovelucy cove

Lucy Tate is on the run. After witnessing the brutal murder of her parents, she’s spent five years in hiding — taking on different personas and faking her way through life. The authorities can’t be trusted, so she remains in the shadows, always one beat ahead of the man who is forever hunting her. That is, until she meets Zach Schultz, a senior at Monte Vista High and the one guy she can’t bear to leave. Suddenly her natural instincts to lie, steal, and run are overshadowed by something else…the desire to stay. It’s her
one shot at a normal life.

Curious by nature, Zach is immediately drawn to the new girl at school. How can a person look both confident and vulnerable all in the same moment? Determined to learn more about her, he tries to get close, but is thrown into a world of lies and confusion. The only thing that becomes apparent is that discovering the truth may get him killed.

I Know Lucy





About the Author

ilovelucy uthor

Melissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has continued to produce a steady stream of books. Recently she signed with Evatopia Press and her first Evatopia book is coming out in February 2014 – True Colors, The Masks Series #1. She is very excited to be trying out new things this year while continuing to publish under her own name as well. She has six books planned for 2014 and is excited about writing each and every one of them.

“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

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Review of The Son – Jo Nesbo

Posted: May 2, 2014 in mystery, Review

the son

Jo Nesbo is such a successful author that his books are now promptly translated to English to ensure an almost simultaneous release with his native Norwegian. His latest work, The Son, is not a Harry Hole novel but it is another police detective, killer manhunt story and well worth the read.

Sonny Lofthus is fighting the demons caused by the inexplicable suicide 14 years ago of his policeman father. However, Sonny is also a heroin addict and model prisoner doing time for the murder of two people he didn’t kill. In return for confessing to these two crimes his “sponsors” supply him with heroin. Sonny is about to confess to another murder, committed when he was on day release, when someone lets slip that they may know who killed his father. This information gives Sonny the impetus to escape and seek revenge on his father’s killer; and do a little extra-judicial killing of his own.

Not only is Sonny being sought by the police, but he is also being sought by the criminals who convinced him to confess to the murders 14 years ago (and the one he is alleged to have committed now). Sonny is searching for the people behind these criminals, one of whom is a policeman. Not a good market to sell life insurance as the body count begins to climb.

I really enjoyed this book. Sonny burnt with righteous indignation – an indignation that kept him one step ahead of the next needle he so desperately wanted. The police investigators were both flawed and insightful and hampered by Sonny’s ability to be unpredictable. And the criminals were a couple of steps up from thuggish and stupid – and lead by a brain of the first order. Such was the quality of the story that in the epilogue Mr Nesbo left himself room for a return to these characters: well some of them at least.

This is a book to add to the immediate reading pile.

Harvill Secker

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Simon

seeyouin hellcover

Hate your job? Try working in HELL!

Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel’s mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans the Lord of Lies has up his sleeve and stop him, using any means necessary. Lucifer and his minions are out to take over the world, but there’s more than money at stake when the Devil drives.

Adding trouble and temptation to Mel’s job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and is determined to claim her, body and soul.

Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?

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Mel carefully blew on her coffee as she returned to the lunchroom turned training room.

Luce reclined against the tiny bar in the corner, resting his arms on it so his hips were pushed into greater prominence.

Mel recognised his stance as one meant to draw attention to the bulge in his pants. The implied message was clear: the pants could be unzipped for the right girl or boy, if someone played their cards right. Mel had far more experience with such a stance than Luce probably realised – for she remembered a time in Russia when it had merely meant the man was rich enough to own a spare pair of socks to stuff in his pants against the frostbiting cold. Ah, Napoleon had been stubborn and arrogant, too, she recalled, but he’d been good for intelligent conversation. He’d also owned an ample supply of socks.

No one seemed game to speak to the CEO, so Mel took pity on him. Resting her elbow on the end of the bar, she asked, “Do you get bored, delivering the same orientation presentation every month?”

“Of course not,” came the easy answer. “Every time I tell new staff about the achievements of the HELL Corporation, I see their pride in being part of my company, knowing the next team of new staff will be hearing about the achievements that they personally helped happen.”

Mel laughed heartily. “That sounds like a rehearsed response if ever I heard one. Do you ever answer a question honestly?”

“Of course,” Luce replied. Mel barely knew the man, yet she knew he was lying.

She pressed her lips together and gave a little smile in response, before turning her attention to her instant coffee. Attention it didn’t deserve, but the muddy brew was an improvement to listening to the demon’s rehearsed rhetoric.

Luce seemed to realise that he’d hit a wrong note. “It’s Mel, right?”

“Yes,” she acquiesced gracefully. “From the Helpful Angels Agency.” A careful sip of coffee kept her eyes from meeting his as the cup hid her smile. She waited for the implied warning to sink in: far from being one of his demons, she played most emphatically for the other team.

“Ah. Ah, yes. I remember now. You’re the new girl who’s working under Lili, right?”

“I’m in the office beside her and I report to her, yes,” Mel corrected. “I’m looking forward to seeing precisely which projects she has in mind for me. I understand the company’s interests are quite diverse, so I expect the work to be different to anything I’ve done before, if nothing else.”

“So what were you doing before deciding to be my angel?”

Mel gave him her serene smile, knowing Hell would freeze over before she’d ever be his angel. He evidently didn’t know that yet, so she replied, “Other temporary assignments, as required. I go where I’m needed, that’s all.” She took a larger mouthful of her cooling coffee, trying not to grimace at the taste.

“I’m sure I’ll need you for something. Lili does a lot of work for me. She may even delegate some of her more delicate tasks to you, if you’re lucky. We could be working very closely together on some of my pet projects.” Luce grinned. “You’ll want to make sure you wear a skirt.” He stared at her pants-clad legs hungrily.

Mel wondered what he’d say if she admitted the closest he’d get to her was precisely where he was now – just out of arm’s reach. She chose to say nothing. Instead, she smiled and nodded, then excused herself so she could wash the sludge out of the bottom of her coffee mug. She wanted to wash her whole body – the sleazy CEO made her skin crawl – but she hardly had time before the next orientation session resumed.

She slipped back into the training room, relieved to see that Luce had left. Somehow, she suspected she’d be seeing him again soon, though she hoped the opposite. Slimy snake of a CEO…

About the Author


Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean’s Gift series is her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

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Two copies each of

Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer

Ocean’s Gift; and Water and Fire.

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