Archive for June, 2014

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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5 individual promo codes for a free download
of the book for an entire tour. Winner must have access to
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

rangers apprentice

For all that it is the twelfth and last book in a young adult fantasy series, I have to say this read remarkably well. It had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I had little trouble getting into it. The major characters were well-developed, and the author puts words together in an easy flow.

 The plot is simple enough. Rebellious young princess, instead of being married off like the average medieval royal offspring, is apprenticed to a Ranger. Much of the first half of the book revolves around her training and maturation into a civilised human being, learning important lessons about the consequences of her actions – such as getting drunk. The latter half focuses on her first mission as an apprentice, and the rescue of the kidnapped kids.

Flanagan’s world was easy to get into… perhaps too easy. Too simplistic in too many ways, too fraught with anachronisms, and altogether too derivative. There is a clear lack of imagination and depth in world design when you have “Iberian” slavers speaking what is plainly Spanish, abducting children to be taken to “Socorro”. Medieval fantasy worlds don’t have restaurants or the germ theory of disease, they don’t even have teenagers… that concept is a twentieth century invention. The Rangers are far too reminiscent of the Heralds of Valdemar, right down to the talking horses…

 Of course, none of these flaws will prevent the intended audience from loving the book. And it is certainly an enjoyable read, with plenty to commend it. I just happen to think that young people deserve better. (Oh, and for those who are curious about such things, you can find the world map on line at

Random House New Zealand

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui


British hotelier Ian Gregson had it all – wealth, good looks, power, and a share in his family’s worldwide, multi-billion dollar luxury hotel chain. His very name was synonymous with sophistication and elegance, and any woman he wanted could be his with just a look. But the only woman he truly desired was strictly forbidden to him for too many reasons to count.

 Tessa Lockwood was young, beautiful, and lonely, despite the fact that she was a married woman. Her life had not been an easy one, and the extravagant world she caught glimpses of as an employee of the Gregson Hotel Group was far beyond anything she could ever dream of. She could no more imagine herself ensconced in that sort of luxurious lifestyle than she could attracting the attention of her handsome, debonair boss. Ian and Tessa secretly long for each other from afar, never daring to reveal their forbidden attraction to the other, until circumstances bring them together in a very unexpected way. And from that point on, nothing will stand in Ian’s way to finally make her his.

 AUTHOR’S NOTE – despite what you might be thinking at this point, there is NO cheating in this story – just an incredibly romantic hero who will make you swoon with the way in which he sweeps the heroine off her feet!

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About the Author


Author Bio Janet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades, with her first ebook Serendipity published in December 2013. Splendor is book two of six in the Inevitable series, each book a standalone with no cliffhangers.

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 Splendor baner


Lester Ferris, a soldier near to retirement, is British Brevet-Consul on the island of Mancreu. The sole resident of Brighton House, he’s been left to oversee the inevitable demise of the island, which is mouldering under a combination of volcanic and chemical pollution. The population is leaving in droves, burning their possessions and putting to sea, that is, those who aren’t are up to their eyeballs in drug running, organ theft and money laundering. None of this is Lester’s problem. His orders are to sit tight, keep his nose clean and pointedly ignore the Black Fleet of shady unregistered ships anchored just offshore in the Bay. Instead, he spends his days worrying about the likely fate of a small boy, a comic fanatic, a clever internet-savvy kid, who is everywhere and nowhere at once. Theirs is a relationship based on quiet periods of reflection, lived as much in the spaces as in the words themselves. Lester sees a chance to be a father, the prospect tenuous, tender, and terrifying. But when their mutual friend, happy-go-lucky tea-house owner, Shola, is mowed down in cold blood, Lester finds he is unable to look away any longer. As the island succumbs to violence, Lester discovers that if he is to realise his dream of family – is that even possible?—he must step up. Mancreu, and the boy, need Lester to become a hero.

Harkaway is a writer to watch, partly out of intrigue because his latest novel, Tigerman, is a surprise. It isn’t an easy story. There’s an uncomfortable indifference that permeates the narrative, an embarrassment of the sort you experience when watching reality TV, in those cheesy or cringe-worthy moments. Harkaway makes you want to look away, and it’s a clever stratagem, one which strengthens his theme of unconditional love between and a father and a son, between a boy and his mother. Harkaway demonstrates what people are driven to do, the lengths they will go to, when they can’t choose to look away. He does this against a backdrop of environmental degeneration and political tension, then picks out the minutiae of island life, imbuing it with colour and texture, to bring Mancreu and its inhabitants into sharp relief. In fact, the author’s writing style is not unlike the book’s cover artwork:bold and vibrant and yet also slightly indistinct. Tigerman is beautifully written, even when it’s ugly. Tomorrow’s period drama, Tigerman is a story for readers across the board: from lovers of the film Tea with Mussolini to fans of About a Boy.

William Heinemann

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Lee


A four-time winner of Sir Julius Vogel Award, Lee Murray writes friction for children and adults. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and teenaged children.

A review of her YA novel Misplaced can be found here

Conclave, an anthology featuring her novella has just been released.


Some magic can’t be unspun…

Meddling in magic…
If Mia Brooks could turn back time, it would be to when she used her fledgling magic to craft a potion for an injured werewolf. It nearly killed the Pack Alpha, and now the lives of her witch mentor, Jessa, and her soldier boyfriend, Ethan Parker, have been changed forever. Jessa is in hospital after a vicious werewolf attack. And, Ethan, having being bitten, is becoming a werewolf himself.

A wolf at the door…
Mia can’t turn back time, but she can try to make things right with the two people she cares about most. She’s keeping Jessa’s shop, Eternally Magick, open, and she’s there for Ethan as his inner wolf grows. But, by the next full moon, his transformation will be complete. Can she really be the mate of a half-man-half-wolf, living within the law of the Pack?

Under his spell…
Struggling to contain his new lupine senses, Ethan goes missing on active duty. When Mia realizes her werewolf lover has been abducted, she knows must harness every magic power she possesses to get him safely back…

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About the Author


Sarah Mäkelä loves her fiction dark, magical, and passionate. She is a paranormal romance author, but she’s written all over the romance spectrum with cyberpunk, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy… even a sweet contemporary romance!

A life-long paranormal fan, she still sleeps with a night light. In her spare time, she reads sexy books, watches scary movies and Ghost Adventures, and plays computer games with her husband. When she gets the chance, she loves traveling the world too.


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