Monday, April 18, 2011

Eliza's Gift by Rachael Herron

When Abigail Durant inherits a cottage from her friend, the world famous knitting guru Eliza Carpenter, she sees it as her chance to start anew after the terrifying end of her last relationship. Only problem is, the cottage is slap-bang in the middle of a sheep ranch owned by Cade MacArthur, Eliza's tall, dark and infuriating nephew. Cade's a man's man, a cowboy through and through, and he's none too pleased there's now a young - albeit very pretty - woman living on his property. And that's before she tells him she plans to turn her new home into a knitting shop. With battlelines drawn, city girl and cowboy go head to head. But soon, with the sexual chemistry fizzing between them, both start to question the real nature of Eliza's gift... (from the publisher).
Who would've thought you could combine cowboys and craft? Well, it works! This is one of those "will they or won't they?" chicklit's. Set in the Californian country side, the story takes a little persevering although once hooked, you cannot put it down.
If you are an animal lover and can get past the knitting jargon, "How to Knit a Love Song" (the American title) is an enjoyable, feel-good romance.

Rating - I give this 4/5 GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Claire @ admin

Monday, April 11, 2011

Van Diemen's Land by James Boyce

Just before I went to Tasmania in November I heard about James Boyce’s Van Diemen’s Land and began reading but didn’t finish it until I came back to Ballarat. It was such a revelation. It may seem like fairly heavy going to read a history book for fun, and I admit, I am developing quite a relationship with Lieut-Governor Collins, who was with the First Fleet, at Sorrento and then Hobart – I even visited his memorial while in Hobart, so you see, I am a sad case – but James Boyce presents Tasmania’s history in such a different way. We all swallowed that story about the penal settlement and so on, but the in-depth history is much more than you could ever expect, and far more interesting, provoking and fascinating than what we were fed at school. Seems every second person is saying they are off to Tassie, this book is really a must-read if you are heading that way or recently come back. The thing Boyce suggests is that all that history is still reverberating in Tasmania, and I think he might be right. Tasmanians are still sliding away and building themselves little shacks in (what’s left of) the forests, and he suggests this comes from convict times, a refusal to be part of the new settlers’ society. He looks to the way people made lives for themselves in remote and difficult places as examples to us in this day and age of climate change, rampant consumerism, and resource exploitation. Even the name change from VDL to Tasmania becomes a little suspect. I suppose plenty will want to argue about what he says regarding the Tasmanian Aborigines as well, but Boyce has certainly done his research. It’s a really really fascinating read; if you love Tasmania like I do, it will become even more elusive and enigmatic; if you’ve never been there, get your skates on! Boyce will prepare you far better than any slick tourist guide.
Rating - I give this 5/5
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Reviewed by Edith @ Australiana Room

Friday, April 8, 2011

Awakened [The House of Night series] by PC Cast and Kristen Cast

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over her immortal consort Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either… (from the publisher).
I don't know why I keep reading this series as it annoys me a bit, particularly as there seems to be a strong element of lack of respect for authority; and the way some of the characters speak irks me sometime too. But something keeps drawing me back - I fully blame my sister for this. The series does have a different twist on the whole vampire genre - you have to go to school to learn about becoming a vampire after being Marked, not bitten. This book is the eighth in the series and has a few surprises in it, albeit not all good ones.
Rating - I give this 3/5 Hmmm...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kitchen classics - pastries and breads by Jane Price

I love this cookbook. Really love it. Really.
If you are a fan of pastry in any shape form or size, then this is the book for you. I dare you to try their mouthwatering curry chicken pies, or the heavenly rhubarb lattice pie. There are tarts, flans, pies, bread, rolls, croissants, sweets, savories; the only problem with this book is the kilos I gained when I started sampling it's delights. If you haven't heard of this book, seek it out. Now.
Hmmm, getting hungry- fancy a flan anyone?
Rating - I give this 4/5 GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Imogen @ home

Friday, April 1, 2011

Still life : inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton by Jane Ussher

Still Life is a unique and hauntingly beautiful photographic study of the Antarctic huts that served as expedition bases for explorations led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. At the turn of the twentieth century Antarctica was the focus of one of the last great races of exploration and discovery. Known as the 'heroic age', from 1895 to 1917 Antarctic explorers set off from their huts in search of adventure, science and glory but some, such as Scott, were never to return. The World Wars intervened and the huts were left as time capsules of Edwardian life; a portrait of King Edward VII hangs amid seal blubber, sides of mutton, a jar of gherkins, penguin eggs, cufflinks and darned trousers. One of New Zealand's best known photographers, Jane Ussher, was invited by the Antarctic Heritage Trust to record 'the unusual, the hidden and minutiae of these sites'. The Executive Director of the Trust, Nigel Watson, provides a fascinating introduction to the history and atmosphere of each hut and detailed photographic captions (from the publisher).
I have always been interested in anything to do with Shackleton (a great story of survival). This book contains so many amazing photographs of what is essentially a time capsule of a time gone by as there has been little human interference made to the huts since the men left them around one hundred years ago.
Rating - I give this 5/5GREAT!!
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Reviewed by Michelle @ admin