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October book reviews on The Hutt Weekender

Caro has a half hour book review slot, on Hutt City FM 106.7 radio station – The Hutt Weekender show with Craig & Lisa, Saturdays 8 am-12 noon.
Readers have provided the reviews, or (usually in the case of a new book in the shop), we take the reviews from a blog or other online source.

Listen via their online streaming at:-

Reviews from Saturday 8 October 2022

A Magical Realism story involving floating stars, family, friendship and the extraordinary ordinary. The Wellington Alternate by Oliver Dace.

Merinette Nadean should have been happy. Ever since an egg had devoured her, eighteen-year-old Merinette wants to escape her destiny.
She longs to be an academic instead of continuing in her family’s century-old position in maintaining the various surreal entities called Fiction. She would become only a glorified maintenance worker.
That life is a chore.
So Merinette, as stubborn as she is, refuses, eager to prove that she is more than the talents she was born with. She wants to turn her love for books into an alternative way to help her family rather than confronting the Fiction head-on. And, when an opportunity arises in a dingy car park, Merinette will do anything to achieve her goal.

“I enjoyed the book a lot; it is well written, has terrific, fully worked out characters, and lots of conflicts. It is inventive and entertaining; with fantastic contradictions between the characters.”
The imagery Oliver Dace paints with words describe worlds that are both familiar and fantastical and woven together seamlessly. Stepping into one of Oliver’s stories is akin to entering a new dimension and so it is very befitting that his first novel is titled “The Wellington Alternate.”


The Wellington Alternative by Oliver Dace book cover image.
Savage Point by Denise Fitzpatrick book cover image.

Savage Point by Denise Fitzpatrick (D.I. Anderson series 1)

A killer is watching…A bride’s wedding ends in tragedy when her matron of honour is brutally murdered.
Detective Inspector Ian Anderson leads the investigation. He will need all his skills to find the killer whose identity and trademarks are as mysterious as the motive behind the crime.
He suspects two business owners in the city of having secrets they don’t want unearthed. But are they capable of murder?
With chilling precision, the ruthless killer continues his murderous rampage as D.I. Anderson desperately looks for clues to solve the case before another person he cares about is targeted.
This explosive new thriller by the author of the September series is set in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Savage Point, setup with a dramatic opening scene, pulled me in straight away. The central character Detective Anderson was portrayed as a typical cop, always tugged by the case to keep digging for the truth, even with a new wife by his side. Right when you think you have figured out who’s dunnit, another clue arrives, and another body turns up. I loved the way this author took you through the details of the investigation, I really felt like I was seeing the case as the main character and it made me want to find out what happened.
Wow-move over Lee Child….!!! I was hooked from the first page and it was a challenge to stop reading far into the night. The characters are real and the mix of mundane and hair raising, propels you forward at breakneck speed. I appreciated the fact that there were virtually no flashbacks or annoying chapters on different subjects designed to test memories, before they linked up to the main plot.
I can’t wait to read the next book ‘Primed for Evil’-having already absorbed the teaser at the conclusion of ‘Savage Point’.
NOTE: Primed for Evil by Denise Fitzpatrick is also in the shop

A memoir about family life in fifties Blackball Green Grey Rain by Stevan Eldred-Grigg.

Stevan Eldred-Grigg is an award-winning fiction writer, autobiographer and social historian, primarily of class and his local region, Canterbury.

The story of the first years of a little boy dreaming and singing, wondering and wishing, in the bush, rain, rust and sooty streets of 1950s Blackball. A story told by the boy. A story told too by the hit songs he hears on the radio. And a story told by Valerie – who, with her sister, has already spoken to us in the pages of ‘Oracles and Miracles’. A story of working and playing, dreaming and singing, crying and laughing, hoping and wishing, bush, rain, rust, and the sooty streets of Blackball.

Blackball is a small town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Blackball was a centre of New Zealand radicalism and workers’ militancy. It is credited as the birthplace of (the predecessors of) the New Zealand Labour Party, which followed the 1908 miners ‘cribtime’ strike, at ten weeks the longest in New Zealand history. In the 1913 Great Strike, Blackball miners were the last to return to work, in 1914. During the strike they had picketed miners in nearby Brunner and had burnt down the secretary of the ‘arbitration’ (scab) union’s home. In 1925 the headquarters of the Communist Party of New Zealand moved to Blackball from Wellington. The pit closed in 1964.

Green Grey Rain by Stevan Eldred-Grigg book cover image.

The October book of the month for the Writers Plot Bookclub is Redemption Kills by L.W. Wedgwood
(Use code BCCOCT22 for 15% discount and free shipping in NZ).
Reviewed as a suspenseful and fast-paced read in the tradition of James Patterson’s Alex Cross’s novels.

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Book Reviews on The Hutt Weekender

Caro has a half hour book review slot on Hutt City FM 106.7 radio station – The Hutt Weekender show with Craig & Lisa, Saturdays 8 am-12 noon.
Readers have provided the reviews, or (usually in the case of a new book in the shop), the reviews have been taken from a blog or other online source.

Listen via their online streaming at:-

Reviews from Saturday 3 September 2022

Making Meredith by Andy Southall – book cover

Making Meredith by Andy Southall – a compelling read

Southall has a lyrical descriptive style that sets up the rather gothic atmosphere of Meredith – parts reminiscent of the classic Victorian novels where a well-meaning stranger arrives in a spooky place full of secrets. There’s also a decidedly deadpan English wit. We see Robert’s point of view, so share Rob’s confusion as he is told that his grandfather was not the kindly competent GP that he imagined, but who should he trust when most of the locals just want him to leave?

Review: This is a sad story on multiple levels – Rob loves his wife, but longs to have children. Robert doesn’t love his wife, but adores his daughters. His patients find him cold and distant, and cannot forgive his perceived medical failures when only penicillin – not available for another decade – would’ve made a difference, and a longstanding family feud leads to a devastating deception.
It does however end positively – it’s not at all depressing and I liked the final reveal. Finally – that cover – stunning!
(Review from Amazon)

Reactive by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (Reactive Magic Book 1)
A prophecy… A new student… A pot plant growing out of control… One of these things could save Toby. The trouble is, which one?
If you like darkly magical tales, life or death drama, and a little bit of danger, you’ll love Helen’s new fast-paced novella.
Review: Likable protagonist, interesting characters. An intriguing, eerie take on a school for magic, no kid would ever want to attend! A fun, dark read. There is an interesting twist at the end that I never saw coming! :)
(Review from Amazon)

Magnetic by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (Reactive Magic Book 2)
Four magical threads drawing her in… One forcing her away. Which will prove more dangerous?
Magnetic is the second book in the Reactive Magic series. If you like darkly magical tales, life or death drama, and a little bit of danger, you’ll love this fast-paced series.
(So new there are no reviews posted yet)

Spirits in the Bathroom by John Roche – the September book of the month for the Writers Plot Bookclub.

After 6 years of procrastination, John embarks on a new project: to trace his past reincarnations and those of his partner Sarah. What follows is a hilarious trip through 1,200 years of past lives. John enlists the support of a group of bathroom-dwelling Higher Beings, who provide direction, wisdom and humour as he careers through the centuries in his quest to find where and when his relationship with Sarah began.

Review: Irish humour at its best! The characters are brilliant, and it’s a laugh out loud, sometimes profound, and hilarious journey as the author navigates through his past lives.