Archive for June, 2014

the forbidden library

Apparently Wexler’s previous work was a series of sprawling fantasy doorstops called “The Shadow Campaigns” which I am not familiar with. This is a quite different beast, a fantasy novel with a historical setting for older children and younger young adults, and is consequently much shorter and more tightly written. For both of which we can be thankful!

 His clever trick to establish the period of the setting worked for me, having his characters discussing newspaper articles about earthquakes in New Zealand and Managua, and a war in Spain, although I question whether a younger audience would get it. But then our young heroine discovers the hidden magic in her world and the fun starts.

 I have to say that Wexler’s take on libriomancy works really well, better than I’ve come across before in many ways. His heroine, Alice, is well-realised, though I have my doubts about some of the supporting cast, whose motives are a bit obscure. I do think the choice of name was unwise – we already have our Alice; and we must blame the publisher for the blurb, which is so over-blown that it’s truly off-putting.

 However, overall not a bad read, enjoyable by both children and adults; and with some truly memorable images, like the swarm and the evil wasp fairy! Oh, and there is a talking cat with plenty of cattitude… and it’s all set up for a sequel.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

the forever watch

On a generation ship, hundreds of years into a thousand year voyage, people are dying, in a very messy fashion. And Hana Dempsey, office worker in City Planning, wants to find the killer… That’s how it starts. But that’s by no means the only mystery aboard the Noah, and as Hana delves deeper, there are more and more secrets.

This book has a plot layered like an onion with enigma upon enigma… There is plenty of action, a healthy dose of noir, and a frisson of horror, but this is primarily science fiction, and would count as hard SF if it wasn’t for the heavy dose of psi. Unusually, it is written in the first person present tense, which did take a bit of getting used to. Ramirez writes skilfully and in the main, believably. A few times he pushes the psi powers a bit too far, and I’m not entirely sure about his biology, but I’m not that much of an expert in the field so I’ll let it go.

I suspect that most readers will find “The Forever Watch” an engaging, but disturbing read… the questions it asks about the balance between freedom and survival will stay with me for quite a while.

Hodder & Stoughton

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

cradleto grave coverWho can you trust?

Accused of murdering the baby in her care, seemingly cold and measured nanny Lisa Stewart maintains her innocence. But when she changes her name and tries to flee, terrifying threats continue to follow her. Is she an innocent victim of public anger–or a calculating murderer on the run? Can Detective Marjory Fleming, dogged by her own past, uncover the truth?

This psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French and Susan Hill.

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AlineAuthor Picture

Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.

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“When the odds are stacked against you,

you don’t run and hide.

You step up and give life the middle finger.”

Jo is confident her life is about to spiral out of control and change irrevocably. What she doesn’t expect is just how far her world will tilt. Floundering and confused, she discovers life and love isn’t always knee deep in hearts and flowers. Sometimes, life’s middle finger is pointed firmly in the air.

 Liam never expected perfect, but from the moment he said “I do”, he knew he had it. What he doesn’t expect, is life throwing crapballs the size of Ayres Rock at him! Sometimes, life’s aim is a little too accurate.

 When Mother Nature steps in and throws their world into disarray, Liam and Jo need to decide just how far they’re willing to go to find their perfect love.

Be prepared for the release of A Perfect Love by cuddling up to Becca Lee’s A Perfect Moment, (Perfect #1) in her Perfect Series.

Amazon US ~ Amazon AU ~ Amazon UK ~ Smashwords ~ iTunes ~ B&N

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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cop town
Set in downtown Atlanta in the 70s, Maggie Lawson comes from a working class family of cops and has carried on the tradition despite the daily prejudice she faces as a woman in a man’s job. There’s been a shooter killing cops in random for the last six months and Maggie’s brother Jimmy, the golden boy of the force, has just been shot and his partner killed. The good ol’ boys on the force are out for blood and not too worried about due process.

It’s Kate Murphy’s first day as a cop and a steep learning curve for the beautiful blonde from an affluent part of town. Partnered with Jimmy, he quickly ditches her and she teams up with Maggie to find the shooter. Jimmy’s hiding secrets though and they find the murders may not have been so random after all.

This is a stand-alone but I hope it’s not the last we see of Maggie and Kate. They were great characters, showed they were human, and you felt their struggles. Every character was dealing with prejudice, either their own or facing it; sexism, racism, classism, homophobia. The story itself was divided into days, with a tightly woven plot and a lot of action. I was surprised when I found out who the bad guy was and adored the ending of the novel!


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Sexy man

Even good girls do bad things.

Seven Dirty Sins

an Erotic Romance Bundle 

Everybody has a dirty little secret, everybody sins.

What’s yours?

Sinful pleasures find their way into your bedroom through seven bestselling authors

including USA Today bestsellers, LP Dover and Ella James in this sizzling anthology.

Whatever your sin may be you’ll find incredible love and lust between the pages of Seven Dirty Sins meeting all of your dirty needs.

After reading Seven Dirty Sins you’re going to have to go to church ladies.

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Seven Novellas by Seven Sinful Authors.

Pandora’s box will be opened and Seven Dirty will release:

August 13th 2014


Release Day!

Book Two in the Lost Souls Series

Regan has a life in Georgia. She is going to school, has managed to make some friends, and has even found a new love interest in Colter. So what happens when she can’t hide what she is anymore? When do all the lies become too much to handle? And how much longer can she hold onto her sanity—while Agro pushes her closer and closer to the edge of no return—her ascension to Elite?

Colter is beautifully oblivious. Wanting so much to believe that Regan is safe, and Agro has been halted, he ignores Finn’s constant skepticism at the risk of their friendship. Overlooking what is so clearly right in front of him, Colter passes off Regan’s outbursts of emotion on her recent trauma. Colter can feel Regan—his one exception to his retribution—slipping out of his arms, but fighting her to stay with him may not be an option.

Colter and Finn are now at odds, and there is a newly formed alliance between Kaiden and Exile Max. Will this group of Collectors be enough to fight off the new enemies and old threats that emerge in the battle for souls when Regan is broken, and their group is on the brink of self-destruction?

The lost will be found, the Collectors will be exiled, and the Elites will reign.

About Book One, Retribution

Regan Edison has just moved from California, to enter her first year at Georgia Liberty College, the place where jacked up Chevy trucks and hunting are a way of life. Regan hopes to start a new life for herself and she thinks that Georgia is just the place to do it. That is until she meets an unexpected stranger.

Colter Hayes is a member of the Collectors, a group of wrongfully punished lost souls. Colter and the rest of his team, Finn, Kaiden and Devon, work for the Requiem Council who pass judgment on those souls that are neither tagged for Heaven nor Hell. The Council has charged the Collectors with finding the lost in exchange for a chance at redemption.

When an ex-councilmember known to pass Retribution on lost souls sets his sights on Regan, the Requiem Council dispatches the Collectors to Georgia to work as protectors for Regan. The Collectors must fight to save Regan from a fate they know all too well, but can they work to earn back their chance at redemption or are their fates sealed forever?

Who is meant for Heaven?
Who is meant for Hell?
And who is just lost?

Start the series for just 99 Cents!


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About Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson graduated from college with her B.S. in Biology. She currently works as a high school mentor and has just earned her M.S. in Higher Education. Amy is a self-published author of Retribution, a new adult, paranormal romance novel that is the first in the Lost Souls Trilogy. She lives in Southern Virginia with her family and two lazy cats. Amy Thompson is currently working on the next book in the Lost Souls Trilogy, Relinquish and continues to be an avid reader of all things books.

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donnels promise

Risha takes up her mother’s throne in the duchy of Havre and gets caught up in court politics, which bore her. She sets out on a tour of Western Havre with her handsome guard captain, Nolan, and her mother’s cousin, Ciaran, who is married to Havre’s chief counsellor, Athan. They are ambushed along the way, revealing there is a traitor in the city. A cunning plan saves Risha but places her friend Lyse at risk, along with Ciaran. Or does it?

Fleeing to safety in Caledon, she enlists the help of Lillet to stay alive. Risha needs allies so journeys to Fratton in search of people she can trust, revisiting Margretta and encountering Muir. Returning to Caledon, she discovers there has been a coup in Havre and power has been seized by Athan. The duchy of Westlaw holds captive Ciaran and Lyse, who they think is Risha. The Five Duchies is faced with civil war if Risha’s father’s duchy, LeMarc, is expelled from the council for annexing Whitelaw’s capital. Risha must claim Cattra’s Legacy to bring peace to the realm.

The sequel to Cattra’s Legacy is a fast-paced story full of action and adventure. Risha is no swooning heroine and displays the same determination and compassion as in her first tale. The characters are well-rounded and likeable, with the females showing strength and showing they can look after themselves. I want more; to watch as Risha masters her gift, what choices Lyse makes, to see Margretta grow, how Muir and Risha deal with their differences.

This can be read as a stand-alone but I urge you to read Cattra’s Legacy first as the story is brilliant. This is a magical world with kick-arse heroines, an exciting sequel that is a wonderful read and suitable for teens and upwards.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Review of Cattra’s Legacy here

Wanted  cover

Hunted by 9 international Intelligence Agencies for a terrorist atrocity he did not commit, hostage negotiator Danny Shanklin is now the world’s most WANT ED man, with a reward of $10,000,000 being offered for his capture dead or alive.

Trapped in a deadly race against the clock, as well as protecting his family, Danny’s got to track down the terrorists
who framed him. And stop them before they get their hands on 6 lethal smallpox formulations, any one of which could trigger a global pandemic, which would leave only 1 in 3 people alive.With just a 7 foot Ukrainian mercenary and a ruthless female assassin hell-bent on avenging her father’s death to help him, Danny soon finds himself being forced into becoming both predator and prey as he desperately tries to win the fight of his life.

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About the Author


EMLYN REES published his second a year later, and then co-wrote seven comedies with Josie Lloyd, including the Sunday Times bestseller Come Together. He is the commissioning editor of
British and American paperback crime fiction imprint, Exhibit A, and lives on, near and around Brighton beach. You can find out lots more about Emlyn at, talk tunes with him at and natter on Twitter @EmlynReesWriter.

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Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download.

Wanted (2)tb

my two heavens

Some people do lead interesting lives… and some of them do write about it. With varying results, but this is one of the good ones. It fits into a curious little sub-genre; the offspring of cookbook and autobiography. It is a personal story interspersed with recipes, and illustrations of pictures; most of them drawings by the author’s partner, but some lovely colour photos in a section in the middle. So, not the usual pictures of food that you find in a cookbook; and I must admit that it might have helped to have some drawings and diagrams with some of the recipes.

The writing is evocative… those few days in Paris last year kept coming back to me as the author described her second home in France. There’s something of the travelogue here too, from New Zealand to Britain, France, Morocco, the Middle East and India. The recipes come from all those cuisines; and are well-written with abundant anecdotes explaining exactly how to get it right (and what can go wrong). The author has an enthusiasm for the history of food which I can certainly relate to.

I have only a few quibbles… if you’re going to write a personal history out of chronological order and wombling across the globe, it helps to put a place and date (even if it’s only a year) at the top of each section. The conclusion felt a bit weak… I guess that might be an autobiography thing, it’s not a genre I read in often. And the paper the book is printed on feels really rather pulpy – so sadly, it may not last as long as it deserves to.

Random House New Zealand

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui