Book reviews: May 2018

With the colder months fast approaching, there's no better excuse to grab a book and a steaming cup of coffee. NZMCD reviews the latest releases.

The Panic Room

Robert Goddard

Bantam Press

RRP $37

Panic -RoomA young woman on the run from a dodgy past is housesitting alone in a mansion set high on a Cornish cliff. The house has a concealed, steel-lined panic room, which is closed and sealed from within.

Happy with her isolated existence, things start to get interesting when people come looking for the mansion’s owner, each with motives and secrets of their own. Sound intriguing?

Author Robert Goddard is a master of plot-twisters and has done a brilliant job of creating a nerve-shredding page-turner of a thriller in his latest offering. Stephen King describes Goddard’s books as having "more twists than a box of macaroni, all rendered in Goddard’s clear-eyed prose." Thoroughly recommended for those wet wintery days ahead.


Charlotte Grimshaw


RRP $38

MazarineWhen Frances’ 20-year-old daughter Maya drops off the radar while living overseas in London, she naturally starts to worry and sets off to find her.

Along the way, she enlists the help of Mazarine, the mother of Maya’s boyfriend Joe. As the pair hunt out clues, Frances takes an introspective journey through the labyrinth of her past—the relationships, family dynamics, and events that have formed her.

I love Charlotte Grimshaw’s style; it’s compelling, sensual, and thought-provoking. On one hand, I wanted to bolt through the book and unravel Maya’s mysterious disappearance, and on the other, I wanted to savour every sentence and appreciate the work of this award-winning New Zealand writer.

Dear Mrs Bird

AJ Pearce


RRP $ 34.99

Dear -Mrs -BirdIt’s London, in 1940, and Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone.

After applying for her dream job as a Lady War Correspondent, a rather unfortunate misunderstanding sees Emmy typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird—the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.

With strict instructions to throw out any letters of an ‘unsavoury nature’, (such as marital relations, pre-marital relations and, heaven forbid, extra-marital relations), Emmy begins to secretly answer the letters herself. Refreshingly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers, and the art of letter writing itself.

Out of the Wild

Charlie Paterson

Published by Charlie Paterson

RRP $39.90

Out -of -the -WildOut of the Wild is an honest, warts-and-all account of one young man’s unique journey—striving to survive for seven years in a remote rainforest location inside New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, a three-day walk away from the nearest road end.

A true story of isolation and loneliness, away from all the modern conveniences and the comforts most take for granted. Charlie’s tale is one of adversity, building a dream with dogged determination.

More than just a candid wilderness survival tale, Out of the Wild also includes some interesting snippets of New Zealand’s early pioneer history within the Fiordland National Park, the Hollyford Valley, Martins Bay, the beautiful deserted ghost town of Jamestown Bay, and even the fabled ‘lost Ruby mine’.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

Barbara Lipska

Bantam Press

RRP $35

The -Neuroscientist -..What happens when the brain fails? What does it feel like to go ‘mad’?

In January 2015, renowned neuroscientist Barbara Lipska’s melanoma spread to her brain. It was, in effect, a death sentence. She had surgery, radiation treatments, and entered an immunotherapy clinical trial. And then her brain started to play tricks on her.

This expert on mental illness—who had spent a career trying to work out how the brain operates and what happens when it fails—experienced what it is like to go mad. I’m utterly fascinated by stories that delve into the workings of the human brain, and Lipska’s easy-to-read writing style perfectly weaves science and fact with her deeply personal story.

Unmasked a Memoir

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Harper Collins

RRP $39.99

UnmaskedAndrew Lloyd Webber is the most successful composer of musicals in history and professional productions of his shows have sold more than 330 million tickets worldwide, generating more than $13.6 billion at the box office.

Written entirely in his own words, Lloyd Webber recounts his fascinating life and remarkable career. A natural storyteller, with his signature humour and self-deprecating tone, Lloyd shares the details of his early personal and professional years, including his early artistic influences.

Full of colourful characters, rich storytelling, and illustrated with 16 pages of colour photos, Unmasked provides a unique insight into the life of the man who has entertained millions of audiences around the world with his music.

Aging for Beginners

Doug Wilson

Plus One

RRP $39.99

Article -Aging -for -BeginnersDr Doug Wilson has long had a great interest in ageing. His parents lived actively until their late ’90s, and Doug aims to do the same.

To ensure this, he has a plan, and it’s a plan he wishes to share with people aged 60 and, and for those who intend to get there. In Aging for Beginners, Doug shares his decades of knowledge and experience in medical research to provide a fascinating insight into how we age and provides a clear, concise guide on how to live a long, healthy life.

The book ends with a practical checklist, so you can put together a personalised plan for living life to your full potential.

WIN! We're giving away a copy of Aging for Beginners by Doug Wilson 


Competition closes 1 June 2018.

This is it! It’s your life. Live it

Amanda Mortimer

Your Life Live It

RRP $34.99

This -is -it!Queenstown-based Dr Amanda Foo-Ryland (writing as Amanda Mortimer), is a world-class NLP coach and has worked with hundreds around the world.

Her latest book is inspired by her vision to help people reach their full potential by making serious lifestyle changes. She explains: "This book is designed to create serious, unconscious change using NLP and offers a way of changing long-term behaviours or patterns, with an interactive experience.

The unique feature of this book is that it has provides a whole web-based support system designed to give people using it every chance to succeed."

A revolutionary book that will help people from all walks of life make serious lifestyle changes.

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