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Chocolate cake for breakfast / by Hawkins, Danielle,

Publication: Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Arena/Allen & Unwin, 2013 . 360 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

A romantic and humorous yarn telling the story of a young and somewhat unsure of herself, lady vet and a gorgeous young man who is an All Black and a male model plus being an all-round nice guy. Despite the somewhat unlikely setting, this is a great book. Ms Hawkins has a very deft touch and the humour had me laughing out loud on occasions. The country vet bits are very true and she seems to have a spy in the All Blacks camp. Well done, Ms Hawkins, please write some more!

Beneath an Irish sky / by Connor, Isabella,

Publication: Camberley, Surrey : Choc Lit Ltd, 2013 . 414 pages ; 20 cm. Date: 2013

Isabella Connor is the pen name for a writing duo and quite new to me. This book chronicles the storyof the wealthy and almost aristocratic Stewart family and their involvement with the Kiernan family of Irish tinkers or travelling people. Jack Stewart's wife, a Kiernan, had left him shortly after their marriage some twenty years ago and now has been killed in a road accident, leaving a 20 year old son, Luke, who hates his putative father, Jack Stewart. With a few, easily followed, flashbacks we slowly come to understand the reasons for the strong feelings which both these men hold. With the help of friends, especially an Irish counsellor, the difficulties and misunderstandings are slowly resolved. Well written in a style easy to follow, this is a very believable tale. I will be looking for more from this author (s). Well recommended

It happened at the fair : a novel / by Gist, Deeanne,

Publication: New York : Howard Books, 2013 . viii, 404 p. : 22 cm. Date: 2013

Another most enjoyable book from this American author. Set again in the Chicago World Fair of 1893, our hero is a young inventor with the handicap of being hard of hearing. In order to be able to talk to people who may be interested in buying his new, automatic, fire safety water sprinkler he persuades a young, female teacher of deaf children to help him learn to lip read. The story follows the development of their relationship and that of his efforts to sell his invention. Despite difficulties with such things as 'a girl back home' and sabotage of his demonstrations, all is satisfactorily resolved in the end. Told with a lovely touch of humour, good characterisation and a real feel for the place and the time I highly recommend this book.

Lucianna / by Small, Bertrice,

Publication: New York : NAL Trade, 2013 . 288 p. ; 23 cm. Date: 2013

As a fan of historical romances, this book was a big disappointment to me. Set in first, Italy and then England in the late 15th century it tells the tale of a beautiful (of course) young widow engaged in the silk trade and her efforts to avoid the need to remarry. Then she meets an English nobleman and it's all on!! I found the writing much over-simplified, so much so that, if it wasn't for the overtly graphic sex scenes (which I also dislike) one could be forgiven for assuming it was written with a juvenile audience in mind. Quite why Bertrice Small has become a 'best-selling' author I can't imagine. I will not be reading any more of her books.

Gods of heavenly punishment / by Epstein, Jennifer Cody.

Publication: [S.l.] : W W Norton, 2014 . 382 p. ; 21 cm. Date: 2014

This novel contains some interesting information and insights into World War 2 from the viewpoints of American airmen and of Japanese residents of Tokyo during the horrific fire bombing of the city by American aircraft. We hear about the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima but not much of the comparatively devastating fire bombs dropped on Tokyo. Added 27/11/2014 by Heather

Around India in 80 trains / by Rajesh, Monica,

Publication: London : Nicholas Brealey, 2012 . xix, 248 p. ; 22 cm. Date: 2012

This book is a delight! Monisha has largely grown up in England, but returns to India to embark on a 40,000km adventure in all sorts of trains - city commuter-crowded, rural hospital, mountain tiny, large luxury - all sorts! She meets all sorts of people too and they tell her all sorts of stories. Well-written, witty humorous and enjoyable . Added 19/11/2014 by Heather

Snowdrops / by Miller, Andrew,

Publication: Bath : Paragon, 2011 . 218 p. (large print) ; 25 cm. Date: 2011

The title comes from the Russian term for frozen dead bodies which come to light in the spring melt. This is a clue that the book is rather chilling! The main character Nicholas, an English lawyer, becomes involved with two Russian girls in Moscow and is drawn into a corrupt underworld. A psychological drama which is quite gripping. Added 19/11/2014 by Heather

Nest / by Simpson, Inga,

Publication: . 296 pages ; 21 cm.

Jen is an artist who returns after some personal difficulties to the small town where she grew up. She lives in a property where she enjoys the garden and the birds. She has a drawing student who tells her about a little girl who has gone missing. This brings back uncomfortable memories for Jen and leads her to finally work through some personal issues. A heart-warming and lovely book Added 19/11/2014 by Heather

Fair play : a novel / by Gist, Deeanne,

Publication: . 446 pages ; 22 cm.

I liked this story, despite the fact that it is written by an American and is set in America (Chicago mainly). The time is the end of the 19th century and there is a huge expo taking place. Our heroine, a qualified doctor, is finding it hard to get people to accept that ladies can be doctors. Forcing her way into a seminar for women, she meets our hero, a Texas Ranger seconded to this show. Both nice people, they meet many difficulties, both in their 'on again - off again' love life and in their attempts to help the children of the slums of Chicago. Written plainly with a good dose of wry humour, I found it very easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable. Well recommended.

Blackpeak Station / by Ford, Holly.

Publication: Auckland, N.Z. : Black Swan, 2012 . 312 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2012

Holly Ford is a new author for me and I quite enjoyed this book of hers. Set in the South Island high country, it tells the story of a high country station and, in particular, the daughter of the family who only wants to be a farmer, despite difficulties. Add in the usual problems encountered on a sheep station plus quite a dash of romance, a villain you just know is not honest and you have this book. Well written and either well researched or, perhaps, Ms Ford knows the high country. Recommended to all those who like books set in NZ.

Ultimate celebration cards : over 200 card designs for special occasions throughout the year /

Publication: Cincinnati, OH : David & Charles, 2008 . 184 p. : 28 cm. Date: 2008

I enjoyed leafing through and choosing designs to try. Not all the occasions likely to be relevant ( USA book ) but plenty to think about. Added 22/10/2014 by

Paris letters / by MacLeod, Janice,

Publication: . 258 pages : 21 cm.

I enjoyed hearing of Janice's experiences , and those of her correspondences. A little too much of an internal journal in parts but great to hear of someone making their dream happen. Added 22/10/2014 by

The homesteader's sweetheart by Williams, Lacy

Publication: . 415 pages ; 22 cm

You knew what was going to happen at the end of the story at the beginning - love story. Added 22/10/2014 by

Bugs / by Hereaka, Whiti,

Publication: . 242 p. ; 19 cm.

I longed for the 3 young people to realize their potential. I waited in fear as they put themselves in danger. I was grateful for some good news at the end. Some interesting and hard-hitting insights. Coarse language warning. Added 22/10/2014 by

Just an orange for Christmas : stories from the Wairarapa / by Daniell, Christine Hunt,

Publication: . 254 pages : 24 cm

Di had a tough beginning but ended up having a good like in NZ. Other stories were similarly interesting. Added 22/10/2014 by

On Canaan's side : a novel / by Barry, Sebastian,

Publication: London, [England] : Faber, 2011 . 256 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2011

My heart went out to this woman, who'd been through so much and lost so much in her 89 years. It's a sad story but is compelling and the mysteries enticing. Marvelous writing. Added 22/10/2014 by

Driving lessons / by Fishman, Zoe,

Publication: . 312, 12 pages : 21 cm.

Captures the personal experiences of life's ups and downs from a women's view. I felt I really know the characters feelings in depth. Humorous in places, sad in others. A good read. Added 21/10/2014 by

The fault in our stars / by Green, John,

Publication: New York : Dutton Books, 2012 . 318 p. ; 22 cm. Date: 2012

I knew what was coming at the end. SAD! But can't help wondering what happens to Hazel and Issac? Loved the book! Added 21/10/2014 by

Heartland / by Pattrick, Jenny,

Publication: . 328 pages ; 24 cm.

A heartwarming tale set in Heartland NZ. Manawa, a small rural settlement in the shadow of Ruapehu. It used to be a bustling logging town but now seems to be inhabited by the sad remnants of modern life. They battle bureaucracy, weekend 'townies' and the weather but look out for each other in their own brand of community spirit. A reminder of how things used to be. Added 21/10/2014 by Kath

Astonish me / by Shipstead, Maggie,

Publication: . 356 pages ; 24 cm.

Beautiful, Dazzling, Haunting and Exquisite. Added 21/10/2014 by

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