Reviews Published

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Harlan Coben’s “Hold Tight”

This is an unusual Coben for me. Unusual, because the first sentence is not the trademark Coben grab-me-by-my-heartstrings-and-make-me-want-to-race-through-the-rest-of-the-book.

I mean, have a look at the following utterly brilliant first sentences:
· “I see my father with that shovel.” - The Woods
· “Another girl was about to break my heart.” - Tell No One
· “You never meant to kill him.” - The Inncocent
· 'When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought of my daughter... ' - No Second Chance

“Hold Tight” doesn’t make use of the technique. The first sentence is more of a paragraph and it does not foreshadow the rest of the book (or if it does, I didn’t get it):

“Marianne nursed her third shot of Cuervo, marveling at her endless capacity to destroy any good in her pathetic life, when the man next to her shouted, “Listen up, sweetcakes: Creationism and evolution are totally compatible.””

Anyway, the premise of the book: “is it ok to cyber-spy on your teenager” is a great one. The tension is huge, the subplots come together neatly, and I am not at all surprised at the mountain of books at one of Harlan’s book signing (

I am trying to get you an interview with the man himself on this blog, and I haven’t lost hope yet.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference 2008

This was a difficult conference for me personally because of my husband's 40th birthday falling on the Conference Sunday. Talk about shoddy timing! Nevertheless, despite His Lordship's mid-life moodiness at not being the centre of my universe and my son's freak-me-out accident at the gym ("I wonder where Mr Jetson goes in the cartoon's title sequence, let me stick my hand into the running treadmill and find out"), I managed to have an absolutely fabulous time.

The highlights:
· Margie Lawson’s workshop on Emotions. I had the notes already, but Marge makes them come alive. Her energy and enthusiasm for good writing are contagious and I hope her cliché alerts stick with me.
· Margie Lawson’s analysis of Harlan Coben’s opening chapter of “No second chance”. It’s amazing that the author can produce a gripping opening that lasts several pages and yet is all back flash and self-talk (which are supposed to be pace-killers, and yet, in this case, are not).
· The chance to meet Cindy Hwang of Berkeley.
· The most gianormous chocolate cake I’ve ever seen. Honestly, you could have hidden all our egos in it. J

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mamma Mia, the Movie

I have the songs, I’ve seen the stage production, now I’ve watched the movie. My reactions are disjointed, so I’ll bullet-list them randomly:
· I miss Greece! (That’s Greece the country, not Grease the musical.)
· Definitely best on the big screen.
· Fabulous music.
· Isn’t it amazing that the original songs hardly needed any word changes to fit perfectly around a plot?
· Ok, so the plot was a bit thin unless you are used to romance books and Meg Ryan movies.
· If you’re a woman, you’ll probably like it. Leave your man at home unless he’s an Abba fan. Take the children if they’re under 10 or over 16 (there are a few lewd allusions in the movie).Did I mention that I miss Greece.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

the girl who stopped swimming

If reviewers and readers end up comparing my literary fiction to the work of Joshilyn Jackson, I’ll be one happy author! She writes with finesse and magnificence, her words creating worlds so real, you’ll be forgiven if you want to exchange Christmas cards with the characters.

“the girl who stopped swimming” has the usual JJ signature of making things seem what they are not, interlacing the past with the present, raising important issues (such as what makes a good marriage) and playing with your emotions.

The blurb calls it “Richer and more rewarding than any story Joshilyn Jackson has yet written”. I disagree. They are all equally suberb.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Harlan Coben and Tami Hoag

What can I say? I was in the middle of Tami Hoag's excellent "Kill the Messenger" when I got hold of Harlan Coben's "Promise me". I abandoned the former for the latter.