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Making soapies in Kabul : hot days, crazy nights and dangerous liasons in a war zone / by Tierney, Trudi-Ann,

Publication: Sydney : Allen & Unwin, 2014 . 296 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : 24 cm. Date: 2014

I did not find this book as interesting as I expected - lots of focus on the author's social life rather than the problems of Kabul. I did not finish it, Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

My mother's secret : based on a true Holocaust story / by Witterick, J. L.,

Publication: . 195 pages : 22 cm.

I found this small book engrossing. It is a tribute to the overwhelming compassion of the two women who risked personal safety to do what they saw as right despite in extremely difficult circumstances. Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

The claimant / by Hospital, Janette Turner,

Publication: . 609 pages ; 24 cm.

A good story by an Australian author about an Australian who says he is the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune. It is fiction but well researched so that it is easy to feel that you are reading something factual and fascinating. Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

The Paris architect / by Belfoure, Charles,

Publication: Sydney [N.S.W.] : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2013 . 371 pages : 24 cm. Date: 2013

A French architect works for German manufacturers in Paris during the German occupation of the city in WWII. He is torn between criticism from his fellow Frenchmen and his professional desire to create beautiful buildings, Depicts the atmosphere of the time and explores the role of patriotism. Added 29/08/2014 by Heather

Never coming back / by Weaver, Tim,

Publication: . 534 pages ; 20 cm.

I have enjoyed the previous Raker novels, but this one not so much. Although not lacking in excitement and adventure the story line is extremely involved and, in my opinion, spoils the read. On belatedly reading the Google reviews, this book was apparently written as a stand-alone for the American market which could explain it's dislocation from the previous Raker books. Added 28/08/2014 by Kath

Crossfire / by Francis, Dick,

Publication: Bath : Windsor, 2011 . 377 p. ; 25 cm. Date: 2011

I have always been a fan of Dick Francis but I assumed that there would be no more of his books when he died in 2010 but I was wrong. The book under review gives the publication date as 2010 and it is co-authored by Felix Francis, his son, and with thanks given to William Francis, the grandson! A real family affair. Anyway, to the book itself. A badly wounded English soldier returns home to a family in real trouble and, to make it worse, they don't want our wounded soldier, Tom, anywhere around. As he realises that the family has many problems, from tax evasion to blackmail, he decides to sort it out. In the typical Francis manner, there is plenty of action and we learn much about the modern soldier in the process. I doubt if I could tell this book apart from one written by Dick alone, high praise from me. I look forward to more from Felix Francis and, in the meantime, this one is well recommended.

Worthless remains / by Helton, Peter,

Publication: Sutton, Surrey, England : Crm̈e de la Crime, 2013 . 212 pages ; 23 cm. Date: 2013

The leading character in this series of detective novels is an extroverted artist who drives an old and classic Citroen when he is not riding his girlfriend's even older Norton motorcycle. A guy who appreciates the good things of life but finds it difficult to earn the money to afford them. Written with a gentle humour and quite a lot of wit, I have enjoyed both of the books in this series that I have read. An unlikely hero perhaps and one who seems to fall into dicey situations quite regularly and only gets out of them with the help of his loyal friends. Set in the English city of Bath and the surrounding countryside, the stories flow easily and the various characters are well delineated and believable, even the grumpy police detective. Recommended

The trigger : hunting the assassin who brought the world to war / by Butcher, Tim.

Publication: London : Chatto & Windus, 2014 . xxii, 326 pages : illustrations, maps ; Date: 2014

In tracing the life of Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in1914, Tim Butcher describes and clarifies the many influential aspects of Bosnian history which we have read and heard of over the years following WWII without fully understanding. The book is fascinating, easy to read and compelling. Added 24/08/2014 by Heather

Brighter than the sun / by Quinn, Julia,

Publication: [Bath] : Windsor/Paragon, 2010 . 355 p. (large print) ; 25 cm. Date: 2010

Another Regency romance from this prolific author. The story revolves around a somewhat prim, vicar's daughter and a notorious, aristocratic rake and their marriage of convenience. Well written in a light-hearted manner, the story romps along with plenty of sexy scenes which is fine if you like that sort of thing but which are such that they don't spoil the story if , like me, you prefer to use your imagination! A fun book, easy to read and 'slightly recommended'.

Freedom's land / by Jacobs, Anna,

Publication: London : Hodder, 2008 . 405 p. ; 20 cm. Date: 2008

I think I must have read and enjoyed most of Anna Jacobs' books but this one was just a little bit of a let down. The story is fine but the writing appears somewhat laboured and probable reads more like a documentary that a novel. I could well imagine that this was written in response to a publisher's cry of 'write another book quickly' and Ms Jacobs has done just that. Not a bad book but not up to the authors usual high standard.

The house on Burra Burra Lane / by Jones, Jennie,

Publication: North Sydney, N.S.W. : Harlequin Mira, 2014 . 291 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

I have read a few books recently by Australian writers and enjoyed most of them but, regrettably, not this one. The story line set out on the jacket sounded interesting but I'm sorry to say that Jennie Jones' writing doesn't come up to scratch. The story itself is good but I couldn't get up any enthusiasm at all for the writing which spends far too much time on 'woofle' and not enough time on the story. The writing is stilted and there is no flow to the words. Sorry, Ms Jones, but I won't be looking for more of your books.

The turning tide / by Lance, Kate,

Publication: Sydney, N.S.W. : Arena, Allen & Unwin, 2014 . 337 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

The Turning Tide is an amazing read. I couldn't put it down. The sins of war and the aftermath, tangled family relationships, love, regrets, horror and hope - it's all here. A must read. Added 23/08/2014 by Kath

Frog music / by Donoghue, Emma,

Publication: London : Picador, 2014 . 403 pages ; 24 cm. Date: 2014

This story shows evidence of a lot of research into life in San Francisco during the heat wave and smallpox epidemic of 1876 and the characters are based on historical records of people living at that time. There are also interesting comments on relevant song titles used as chapter headings. All makes this an intriguing book, but a bit spoilt for me by some over-descriptive sexual scenes. Added 21/08/2014 by Heather

The secret life of James Cook / by Lay, Graeme,

Publication: . 368 pages : 24 cm

This book and its sequel James Cook's New World' are accounts of the life of this justly famous sailor, navigator and explorer put together as a novel. Written by NZ author, Graeme Lay, this strategy works splendidly, bringing the both the private and professional life of this remarkable man brilliantly to life. Equally, it highlights the very real drawbacks of the life of a seaman in the 18th century, including the great difficulties and sorrows it caused his wife, Elizabeth, and his children. Few of his children survived to adulthood and their mother had to bear these losses on her own. The books do not minimise these problems in any way but they also show the great pleasure and satisfaction that Cook gained from his life. His great care for those under him, including all the common sailors who sailed with him, shows him to have been a man of high principles and who lived by those principles. Cook's great love of the sea and his equally great love for his wife meant that he had to choose between them and, as we know, the sea was the winner. These books are obviously the result of a great deal of research and are written so well that they are very easy to read, gallop along like a good story and, at the same time, a great deal of knowledge of the times, navigation, the sea and sailing is being absorbed by the reader almost without realising it. Lay is a prolific writer in a number of genre and I am surprised that I haven't come across him before. I believe he is writing a third in the series and I will be looking out for this as well as other of his books. I cannot recommend these books too highly, both as great reads and for their insight into the lives of many people who had great influence in the founding of New Zealand.

From a distance / by Barker, Raffaella,

Publication: . 328 pages ; 22 cm

Raffaella Barker writes in a style reminisent of Joanna Trollope a good read that entertained me and kept me guessing as to the actual links in the story. A litle bit of everything romance sadness partings and coming together. Throw in losing the babies from the nest syndrom restless teenages and mum feeling invisible and you get the gist of the story. The main thread deals with a soldier coming to terms with what he has seen during the 2nd world war and the choices he makes. enjoy Lynne Added 18/08/2014 by Lynne

Nightshade / by Leather, Stephen,

Publication: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2013 . 425 p. ; 24 cm. Date: 2013

heart gripping occult drama. The interaction between all the characters to make this a book I needed to get to the end so that all would be put right again. Not to be read before bed. I wondered why I choose this as its a bit scary. Added 14/08/2014 by Gail

The broken places / by Atkins, Ace,

Publication: . 358 pages : 24 cm.

Hillbillies in todays world I didn't finish this book. Added 14/08/2014 by Gail

The collected works of A.J. Fikry / by Zevin, Gabrielle,

Publication: . 243 pages ; 23 cm.

A pleasant story about the family and friends of an owner of a bookshop. Appealing to longtime readers for references to books and short stories which will be familiar, though largely American. May even inspire some rereading of past favourites. Added 12/08/2014 by Heather

The burning / by Hall, M. R.

Publication: . 407 pages ; 25 cm.

Very readable series about an English Coroner turned detective. Excellent writing. Added 11/08/2014 by Kath

The all you can dream buffet : a novel / by O'Neal, Barbara,

Publication: . 380 pages : 21 cm.

I enjoyed this novel of love and food all mixed up and unlikely friends who meet through a blog site. Throw in some magic as well and it was great weekend reading. So much so I went looking for more and found The Lost recipe for Happiness". It was Barbara O'Neals first book and was also good. Lynne Added 11/08/2014 by Lynne

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