Monday, May 14, 2012


I read this book last week. Somehow it slotted itself between two other books I was reading, then wouldn't let me go until the end. For the next few days I'd go to pick up my eReader and then remember I had finished it. I so wanted to read more about these characters. Thank goodness it's the first in a series. I hope you're writing fast, Clarissa!

The two main characters: Evans and Blackwell, are a British spook and Detective. And don't you just love the names? They just sound British and coppish - don't they? Anyway they both have intriguing back stories which pop up through the story. Just enough to keep you interested.

Against this back drop there are single mothers going missing in London, a good dollop of cryptography, a murderer and an undercover job that just may be going belly up. I liked that there were essentially two unconnected mysteries and, if you're inclined, there's a code to decipher as well. 

Clarrisa Draper blogs here  and you can buy The Sholes Key on Amazon here.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I first posted about this New Zealand Western, GOOD FOR NOTHING, in August 2010. It's been a long wait, but the movie has finally made New Zealand cinemas and I can tell you it was well worth the waiting. This movie is fun, authentic, raw and pure escapism.

It's been getting rave reviews all over the place and they are well deserved. Right from the opening scene- pictured above - we are firmly entrenched in the wild west of America, despite knowing that the train was the Kingston Flyer from down south and despite the lady's chaperone being played by my old English teacher, Terry MacTavish. 

The Central Otago landscape, great acting and a brilliant musical score by John Psathas make this movie one of the best westerns I've seen - and I've seen plenty!

Inge Rademeyer as Isabella 

Cohen Holloway as 'The Man'.

But for me the real excitement came from knowing that writer/director Mike Wallis had caught the dream to make a western movie, on the vast arid plains of Central Otago, whilst holidaying there in his youth. You see, a decade or so earlier, this girl holidayed in the same Otago landscape and dreamed of writing westerns.

So, if you yearn to see a new Western, complete with nameless cowboy of dubious morals then get on down to your nearest cinema and watch New Zealand's very own Pavalova Western. You'll love it! 

And when you get to the bit with the Indian's stone cottage, you might just recognise it from the banner at the top of my blog.

You can watch the trailer here.

Check out their FaceBook page for cinemas, screening times, and all sorts of snippets and reviews on the movie.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Yesterday I ventured out into a chilly autumn night to attend a fund raiser for my kids old primary school. It was a quiz night and I love quizzes!

Our team was The Ex's. Four of us - all mother's of ex pupils. We came fifth in a field of eighteen teams. Not too bad and we even bet the teacher's team!

Amongst questions like 'how old is the prime minister' and 'how tall is our highest mountain' came the one that floored everyone:

'What is the name of the dot above a 'j' and an 'i'?

And the answer was - a tittle!

A random piece of information, but who knows when you might need it. It may be included in the next quiz you attend. Then you can stun your fellow team mates with your supreme knowledge and utter a word of thanks to JT.

And on another note.  Happy Star Wars Day!  May the Fourth Be With You!

Add caption

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I'm having an odd week. The dreaded lurgy is knocking us down one by one. Son #2 is on his third sick day, hubby is on his first and I've been fluctuating between feeling fine or tired and fluey. Right now I'm somewhere in between.

I've been wading through a pile of books from the library and most of them have been hurled at the wall. Does that ever happen to you? I'm torn between deciding whether it's my state of mind or that I  chose badly. No doubt it will be a bit of both.

And what is it about these books that is turning me off reading them? Vastly different reasons, really. There's the gratuitous sex scenes that go nowhere and have no relevance to the story, the plotless stories, the plain boring stories and just badly written stories.

But that is enough grumbling from me. I've also read some excellent books lately. Here's a couple of the highlights so far this year:

A POISONED SEASON by Tasha Alexander.
    Book 2 in the Lady Emily series.  History, mystery and intrigue. Victorian fashions and etiquette, archeological treasures, and a smattering of Greek all wrapped up in a little romance. I can't recommend this highly enough.
You can read my review of Book 1 here.

     Book 1 in the series. Eleven year old Flavia is the youngest of three daughters yet her intelligence and maturity outstrip her siblings by years.  Murder, stamp collecting, chemistry and 'old school' boys, set in 1950s rural England. A great read.

THE DEVLIN DIARY by Christi Phillips.
     This follows on from The Rossetti Letter, but is a stand alone. Murder in present day Cambridge University and murder and intrigue in the era of Charles II. I enjoyed the really strong characterisation in this book along with the mystery and history. I haven't read the Rossetti Letter yet, but I certainly plan to.

But the highlight of the week was my first taste of a deep fried Moro! Hubby grabbed takeaways one night and the fish n' chip shop he went to sold this incredibly decadent treat. For those of you who don't live in New Zealand, a Moro bar is fluffy, chocolate flavoured nougat, a layer of flowing caramel all smothered in chocolate. A bit bigger and denser than a Mars bar. A very rich an incredibly delicious treat without being coated in batter and deep fried!

Now I know many of you will be thinking "GROSS" and you'd be right. I stared at my small portion as a chocolatey, caramelly mess oozed from the split batter. There was no way I was going to eat any of it, but I found myself dipping a finger into the hot centre and scooping out a mouthful. A moment of pure chocolate bliss!

Three mouthfuls later and the batter lay limp and empty on my plate; the kid's plates however were scrupulously clean!