Book reviews: January 2017


The MCD team has selected the best of some recent inspiring reads

Meals Without Meat 

Book -review -3


Alison and Simon Holst 
New Holland Publishers NZ
$29.99

Reviewed by Claire Smith

With two newly vegetarian teenagers in the house, our family of five decided it was a good time to cut back on meat and join the teens in their efforts. So, in an effort to create easy, healthy meals to keep everyone happy, I picked up a copy of Meals Without Meat and was pleased I did. In typical Holst-style, the recipes all use economical, readily ava

ilable ingredients. We’ve been enjoying quick and easy meat-free burgers, fried rice, tofu dishes, pies, pastries and more. I can definitely recommend the Tofu Burgers—they’re packed with flavour and great for summer barbecues.

 

The Nowhere Man

Gregg Hurwitz Book -review-
$37
Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Hot on the tail of the Orphan X book is the follow-up: Nowhere Man, featuring Evan Smoak. I agree that the name isn’t as cool as Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne, but he’s pretty much on the same playing field as those two. Mr Smoak or the Nowhere Man as he prefers to be known is an ex-operative that has gone rogue. Well, he only kills bad guys now and he does it for free. His old team is trying to hunt him down and put a cap in his butt because he knows too much; all while Smoak is trying to find a 17-year-old female who has been kidnapped and is currently ensconced in a shipping container on her way to a new home. But before he takes care of all this, there is the little matter of him escaping the clutches of a sicko who wants to drain one of Smoak’s Swiss bank accounts of 27 million bucks. And there’s someone else waiting for help.

 

Art Deco New Zealand

Terry Moyle Book -review -4
$40
New Holland

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

If you’re into art deco or just want to show off to less cultured friends, then this tastefully decorated book could be just the thing to strategically place on the coffee table. The offering covers buildings from one end of New Zealand’s two main islands to the other, although the South Island comprises substantially less print space than its northern relative. With retro architectural styling from many small towns and the main centres

(of course), the informative accompanying text helps capture the vibe of many historically important buildings. One thing I did notice was naming a movie theatre the ‘Regent’ in a provincial town was the done-thing once upon a time.

 

A place to stand

Helen McNeil Book -review -1
$28
Cloud Ink

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

It’s the 1950s and Sandra, her younger sister, and their parents leave the UK, heading for the opportunities of New Zealand. Finding themselves planted of all places in Kawerau, Dad finds work at the newly constructed paper mill; his spare time being split between moonlighting as a builder constructing houses for new arrivals, and drinking with his buddies at the pub as often as he can. As you may have already guessed, things don’t really get a lot better as the adult Sandra returns from the big smoke of Auckland in ‘present day’ 1975 for the first time in many years to visit her dying mum. The storyline jumps around quite aimlessly at times before arriving at a dead-end, and then moving elsewhere equally unnecessary to the tale as a whole. Characters also seem to pop up here and there without much reason, and the odd dollop of unrequired squeamishness is thrown in for good measure. However, as weird as the story is—and it is pretty weird at times—the tale kept me engaged through to the end, so I guess it did its job.

 

Night School

Lee Child Book -review -2
$38
Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Ok, I’ll admit right now that I haven’t read a Jack Reacher novel before and always used to palm them off to some other poor sap to look over. Once I heard that Tom Cruise had taken on the character’s role on screen, I was even more adamant to keep them at arm's length. After finally capitulating recently and taking a brief nose inside this latest offering, I am a convert. Alleluia! This story is set in 1996, where Reacher and his buddies are in Hamburg tracking down someone who has sold $100 million worth of something. No one is quite sure what it is, or who is selling it, but one hundred mil is a lot of coin and all they know is an unnamed group from the Middle East are about to log on to their internet banking to pay for it. Well, not quite, but you get the picture. The story build-up is well done, even if it does fall a little flat and predictable as it nears the end. Still, not all that bad for a wet weekend read.

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