Book Chooks

They're faster than a speeding bookmark, more powerful than the glue on the pricetag on the cover of your favourite book and able to leap tall paperbacks in a single bound ... and they read. A lot. Jillian Allison-Aitken and Nadine Hancock are the Book Chooks.

Brutality enjoyed in Oz re-imagining

05:00am 14 Oct 2014

NADINE HANCOCK

BOOK REVIEW: Dorothy Must Die
By Danielle Paige (HarperCollins, RRP $20)

The Dorothy that landed in Oz and met the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion must be killed. But why would anyone want to kill Dorothy?

She's good right? Well, no, she's not. At least not in the world that Danielle Paige has created.

Turning what we know as Oz on its head, Danielle Paige tells the story of Amy, a teenager dealing with a school bully and an addict for a mother.

Following in the windswept journey that Dorothy experienced, a tornado picks Amy up and dumps her into the wonderful world of Oz, where she quickly learns that Dorothy and all the other good guys are now on the side of the evil, and the wicked ones are now the heroes.

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Another classic Reacher adventure

05:00am 10 Oct 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: Personal
By Lee Child (Bantam Press, RRP $38)

There's nothing quite like getting your hands on the latest Jack Reacher adventure and this one is a cracker.

Action hero Reacher, the ex- military cop who is now something of a one-man army, is back and, as the title of the book would suggest, this time it's personal.

Someone has taken a potshot at the French president. And not just any old someone: whoever it was had some pretty impressive sniper skills, incredibly accurate from an incredible distance.

The shooter might not have hit the president, but with the shot making a hole in the safety barrier from a huge distance, the powers that be are worried that it may have been a practice run for the G8 summit coming up in London, meaning even bigger targets.

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Expertise galore for fishermen

05:00am 07 Oct 2014

DON WRIGHT

BOOK REVIEW: Fly Patterns By Fishing Guides
By Tony Lolli (New Burlington, RRP $30)

As Southland's army of fly fishermen prepare to match their wits against the wily brown and rainbow species of our world-famous waters, their insatiable appetite for more knowledge that might deceive trout will prosper from reading this exceptional literary morsel.

Southlander Murray Orr is one of many acknowledged experts and guides from all over the world who make recommendations with valuable contributions to a work that will embellish any trout fisherman's library.

A freelance writer with more than 50 years of international experience as an angler and author of seven United States books, Tony Lolli has not made the mistake of many contemporaries who over-intellectualise a recreational pursuit that largely demands common sense and attention to basic detail.

Southlanders are more fortunate than most in that the province has many vastly experienced anglers only too happy to impart knowledge and encourage wide-eyed youngsters and newcomers.

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Celebrating Starship's first 21 years

05:00am 06 Oct 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: Starship: Inside Our National Children's Hospital
Edited by Lochie Teague (Random House, RRP $50)

For a generation of young Kiwis, Starship hospital has always been there: the place the the very young and very sick can rely on to provide care for both its patients and their families.

However, some of us who are a tad older remember a time when we didn't have a national children's hospital in this country and while you might think that isn't such a big deal, it really is phenomenal that we have so many skilled and talented people packed into one place.

And if you have ever had to spend any time at hospital with a sick child, you will appreciate just how special it is that we have such an extraordinary pool of talent available to us.

My own son was one of those very sick children at a time that pre- dated Starship and although we certainly received excellent care from the surgeons and other medical staff at Christchurch Hospital a quarter of a century ago when he was flown there as a week- old baby with failing kidneys, it was an incredibly isolating and difficult experience.

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Murder mystery unravels in letters

05:00am 02 Oct 2014

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: Letters to my Daughter's Killer
By Cath Staincliffe (Murdoch Books, RRP $37)

When Ruth Sutton receives a text from her daughter Lizzie asking her to babysit the following weekend, she takes a moment to reflect on the happiness she finds in being a grandmother, before agreeing to look after her beloved granddaughter Florence.

Then, just a few short hours later her son-in-law calls to say something awful has happened. He sobs as he tells her that he believes Lizzie, his wife, is dead.

The story is told in the form of letters to the person who murdered Lizzie in her home, bashing her head in with a poker from the fireplace on a quiet Saturday evening as her little girl was upstairs in her bedroom.

Ruth's first letter explains that she hoped to find some closure, some form of resolution, from writing her thoughts. From there, the letters retrace the story, taking us back to the day of the murder, as Ruth went about her normal, mundane daily tasks in the hours before her life was forever changed by tragedy.

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