Tag Archives: New Zealand

Stacking the Shelves #21

24 Oct

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books!

I’ve been a bit AWOL from this meme for a few weeks, but the book gathering has continued. I signed up to the blog tour for the Rising Storm serial and unexpectedly started receiving e-ARCs via InkSlingerPR. I didn’t receive the first book, so bought that myself from Amazon after the ARCs started turning up. I now have the first six in the series, and have read and reviewed three.

risingstormI also joined the mailing list for the series and received the free prequel novella, Storm Season, by Dee Davis, which tells the story of Ginny and Jacob.

27164578While I was there, I also joined the mailing list for 1001 Dark Nights, and received the free first novella, The First Night, by Lexi Blake and M.J. Rose.

24249819Netgalley continued feeding my addiction by granting me access to the e-ARC of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever Made, by Jeff Strand. Love that cover!

26534110Also from Netgalley was All That is Lost Between Us, by Sara Foster, a new-to-me author that Netgalley recommended. Looks interesting and has a pretty purple cover.

26804824An author contacted me to read her ARC, The Marshall Plan, by Olivia Folmar Ard. It’s a sequel and I haven’t read the first book, but it looks good and features a journalist, so I’m there.

26803616 And, finally, since they were both free on Amazon, I grabbed Hide Your Heart, by local New Zealand author Tracey Alvarez, and When the Perfect Comes, by my friend and colleague, Susan Ward. Looking forward to both of these.

2517331423400297Whew! So that’s it for the last few weeks. When will I find time to read them all??? Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

The One In My Heart, by Sherry Thomas

7 May

oneinmyheartFormat: e-ARC, 260 pages

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Published: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 9781631280122

Genre: Contemporary romance

Back cover blurb: When Evangeline Canterbury meets the gorgeous, intriguing doctor next door, all she wants from him is a bit of distraction, to help her get over a few rough days.

Her one-night stand, however, has other plans: He needs an accomplished and presentable girlfriend to bring before his parents—and for six months of her time, he is willing and prepared to spend an obscene amount of money.

Nothing but trouble can come of such an arrangement. But can Eva stop herself? Or will she fall headlong in love with a man who will leave her when their contract expires with a smile, a check, and hardly a backward glance?

My review: Sherry Thomas’ first contemporary romance is a great read. I’m not a great fan of the “fake relationship” trope, but here it is done with a lot of thought and realism, and free of annoying angst. The story starts off HOT and continues that way, and the banter is fantastic. I especially loved all the geeky LOTR and pop culture references – any book which mentions New Zealand has a special place in my heart.

Bennett has a family link to one of Thomas’ historical novels, and I couldn’t help thinking as I was reading that he’s kind of a modern-day rake: a snappy dresser with money and a good position but in need of his family’s approval and the love of a good woman. I didn’t trust him at first, but grew to love him more than I did Evangeline. She has a fear I could genuinely relate to, and I liked her journey to overcome it.

The secondary characters are wonderful, and I would love to see them with HEAs of their own. I hope this won’t be Thomas’ only venture into the contemporary genre.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4.5/5




Evidence of my book addiction

12 Mar

Top on Goodreads 11March2015If I ever there was proof of my book addiction, it is here. GoodReads advised me yesterday that I was the top reviewer for New Zealand, and in 32nd place for the entire world! I don’t know how many Kiwis are on GoodReads, but I know it’s a few and somehow I have maintained my top placing for a second day. I think my compulsion to complete GR reading challenges doesn’t help, and I don’t like to flounce – I’ll always finish a book even if I don’t like it.

Are you on GoodReads? Do you like to take part in reading challenges? Let me know in the comments 🙂

16 Mar

Brilliant photos from my part of the world 🙂

Brilliant photos from my part of the world 🙂

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Angels’ Blood, by Nalini Singh

19 Jul

Format: iTunes audiobook, narrated by Justine Eyre
Published: First published March 3, 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Back cover blurb:
Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires. Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it¿s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad. The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other-and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael¿s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.
My review:
I have to confess: I listened to this as an audiobook on my iPod – my first attempt at this format – and I kept losing concentration. I suspect as a result I have very little clue about the nuances of this book, apart from a few key *ahem* scenes which seemed to stick in my mind 😉

I really wanted to like this book. It’s by a New Zealand author, so I felt I should be supporting the local girl. And I did like it. The world she has created is rich and complicated. Archangel Raphael is hot, of course, and vampire hunter Elena is kickass. I zoned out a bit when the UST took a back seat to their fighting, but once they were back on course as a couple I was a lot happier.

Scenes with the evil archangel were gruesome and intriguing. We find out snippets of Elena’s past when she’s under stress, and I made a few assumptions but I guess I’ll have to read the next book to find out for sure. I liked the cast of supporting characters, especially Elena’s friends and blue-winged Illium, but it was tricky at times to figure out who was speaking because the narrator’s voice was similar for each voice. Only Illium stood out with his British accent. The narrator can’t do an Australian, by the way 🙂

I enjoyed it, and will probably read the second book in the series on my Kindle rather than listen to it in the car. Audiobooks are great for long car journeys and they certainly help when you have sore eyes from reading too much for work like I do, but I’ve come to the conclusion they aren’t my thing. Nalini Singh, however, just might be.

My rating: 4/5

Things of Beauty: In My Garden

27 Sep

This time of year – Spring here in New Zealand – my garden is coming to life with colour, cheering me up after a very wet Winter. With Spring, though, comes a bit more rain and lots of wind, so before everything got too battered I went out and took some photos.

One of my unusual peach-coloured daffodils

The wind's had a go at my early tulips, but I love how they look inside

Pure white azalea

Our camellias have been really pretty this year

Dessert Island Discs: Pavlova

8 Sep

Not mine - this pav was made by Aussie ubercook Donna Hay. Photo by Chris Court.

Time to up the sugar intake! If it’s a special occasion around here – particularly Christmas or someone’s birthday – then the dessert of choice is pavlova and whipped (chantilly) cream. My husband can eat one all by himself, and has been known to have leftovers for breakfast.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert native to New Zealand, named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova. The best kinds are crunchy on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. Here is my favourite recipe:

4 egg whites (ensure they are at room temperature)

Beat with electric beaters until stiff white peaks.

Add one cup of caster (superfine) white sugar.

Beat until stiff (about 20 minutes).

Shortly before finished, add

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 tablespoon cornflour.

Pour onto non-stick baking paper on an oven tray. Try to keep the circumference of the pavlova about 20cm, and build up as high as possible to make more marshmallow in the centre. I like to tease out the edges to make crunchy peaks.

Bake at 110degC for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 60degC to cook a further 45 minutes. Leave in the warm oven overnight.

Shortly before serving, cover with whipped (chantilly) cream and fresh berries or chocolate chips/shavings.

Bon appetit!

Again, not mine - but it does look very yummy!

You Can’t Beat Wellington On A Good Day

1 Sep

Today is allegedly the first day of Spring, and my city – Wellington, New Zealand – has turned on a beautiful day to prove it.

My view of Wellington Harbour at 9am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My view to the south of Cook Strait - dead calm for once 😉

Here’s hoping for a brilliant Spring!