Saturday, December 19, 2015

Unplugging until 2016

Sun, sand, strawberries and champagne - that is what I have planned for the remainder of 2015. To all my wonderful readers, have an awesome holiday season, and see you on the other side!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What Alice Forgot

It's difficult to write a book about memory loss that's different from all the other books about the topic. And so Liane Moriarty's "What Alice Forgot" starts off on a not-too-different trajectory to Sophie Kinsella's "Remember Me", with a heroine who doesn't remember the last x years of her life, and finds herself older, fitter, and richer.

Nevertheless, the plot diverges from there, and the resulting story is riveting. Beautiful writing. Realistic characters. Spot-on observations about love and marriage.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A lust poem

a brief crush

he was just a boy
that's what 26 looks like
from the 34th mark
no mystery in it

our contract was simple
i would make a man of him
and in return
i would make a man of him

i mean
how could i resist

how did i

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Hypnotist's Love Story

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty is exactly what it says it is: the heroine is a hypnotherapist and the book is about her journey to love. But wait, it's not as bland as it seems: her love interest has a stalker, an ex girlfriend from hell. Or is she?

This is a book about dating a widower, being a step mom, growing up without a father and a multitude of other small issues that make up modern relationships. The highlight for me was when the hero was revealed to be a hoarder - being married to one, certainly made me empathise with the heroine.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dan Carter - My Story

This is Dan Carter's love story with rugby. I love it because of the cover and because it's Dan. I mean, isn't he just the ultimate hero of any romance book?

The blurb:
Dan Carter: My Story is an up close and personal account of a New Zealand sporting icon: a down home country boy who went on to become a world superstar. Acknowledged as the greatest fly-half to have played international rugby and a veteran of more than 100 test matches, he is the world record holder for most test points, has twice been named the IRB’s Player of the Year and twice named New Zealand Player of the Year. 

Carter, though, is renowned for his modesty and unassuming nature, and argues that he has he always 'just tried to do the best job I can for the All Blacks'. In this authorised biography, the great All Blacks pivot with the model good-looks opens up for the first time about his stellar 12 year career. He looks back on the myriad highs, including that virtuoso performance for the All Blacks against the Lions in the second test of the 2005 series. 

And with an equal measure of honesty, Carter also reflects on the lows of his career, speaking frankly of the mental anguish he felt after twice being invalided out of Rugby World Cups. He talks about his unflinching loyalty to the famous black jersey and the reasons why he elected to make a long-term commitment to New Zealand.

Whether you want to get up close and personal with this sporting legend or you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your household rugby tragic, clickBuy to get your hands on a copy of the most hotly anticipated sports biography in years.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Who would like to review "Sweet Somethings"?

If you'd like a review copy of "Sweet Somethings" or "Spicy Somethings" by Eve Summers, please send me an email to yve at xtra dot co dot nz.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sweet Somethings - extract

This is my To–Do–Before–I–Turn–30 list:
·        Eat an ostrich egg. Check.
·        Play with a cheetah cub. Check.
·        Swim with a dolphin. Check.
·        Scuba dive in a foreign country. Double check for doing it at night.
·        Skydive. Check, bonus points because I wasn’t scared.
·        Dare to love again. Nah, cross it out. So not going to happen. I’ve learned
        my lesson.
·        Make love on a yacht.
·        ... With a stranger for extra points.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not into one–night stands. The idea of getting close and intimate with someone I’m not emotionally involved with gives me the creeps. I only included it in my to–do list because I was hurt and devastated and not thinking straight.
Getting dumped wasn’t on my to–do list.
Neither was an impromptu trip to Africa.
When my now–ex–boyfriend broke up with me, I simply sold my engagement ring and booked the first holiday package I found. My Before–I–Turn–30 list was born on the long flight towards the Dark Continent.
And now I’m in Africa. The sun is hot. The air is hot. My energy levels are up there with over–boiling. In just two short weeks, I managed to put a big fat checkmark next to five items on my bucket list.

Beats choosing the wedding cake, that’s for damned sure.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Salmon fishing in the Yemen

Not a traditional love story, but a story about what love is and what love is not. Also about the love of fishing, and about the fact that faith can move mountains (or at least make fish swim in the desert).

I read the book and haven't seen the movie yet, but I loved the book so much, the movie's definitely on my to-see list.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Not as good as the original, but a much needed sequel to complete Evelyn's love story. The Sonny and Sunaina drama wasn't necessary, though, IMHO.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Favourite James Bond actor

I've always been a Roger Moore girl. My very first James Bond was For Your Eyes Only, and it became the benchmark with which I measured every Bond ever since: is he suave enough? funny enough? punny enough? are the gadgets as gadgety? the chase scenes as hilarious?

Timothy Dalton passed the test. But when Remington Steele entered the scene, he didn't do it for me. Not back then. Not sure why. Watching him again, though, I realise he's got it: he's suave, funny, punny, with gadgets. Nothing will beat the car chase from For Your Eyes Only, but Pierce Brosnan is a good Bond. He's unlucky with the plots, that's all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Day

Another Day by David Levithan is a follow-up to Every Day by the same author. Not exactly a sequel, this narrative put you in Rhiannon's head, giving you the opportunity to observe A's actions from her perspective.

Whether viewed though his or her eyes, it's a love story worthy of reading.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Something different

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun 

(Sonnet 130
by William Shakespeare)
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
     As any she belied with false compare.
(Many people believe this is an expression of true love: the opposite of blind, the opposite of flattering, the opposite of false compare. Personally, I'd be glad to receive a little bit of fake gold dusting on a love poem. What do you think?)

Thursday, August 27, 2015


... about the Romance Writers NZ conference starting tomorrow. 3 days of workshops and netowrking over morning tea that somebody else prepared and that somebody else would clean up.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

After the Crash

After the Crash by Michel Bussi is an unusual love story.

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?

Friday, August 14, 2015

_ how to detox a cracked relationship _

do not dwell on the past
do not divulge present sins
admit nothing in future

let your anger be a tortoise
let your passion be a hare
(and may the true winner win)

design date nights
and plan your exit

just in case

Friday, August 7, 2015

Thursday's Child by Nicci French

Thursday's Child (also "Thursday's Children") by Nicci French is the fourth novel in the psychotherapist Frieda Klein series, after Blue MondayTuesday's Gone and Waiting for Wednesday.

A psychological thriller is an unlikely genre for a love story, and yet I've come to enjoy Frieda's emotional life's trials and tribulations. Not a romance series by any means, but a love story nonetheless.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Horse Dancer

I'm one of those rare girls who aren't into ponies. Never been. Took a few riding lessons as an adult, fell off at the first jump, rode some more until my instructor got bored. In principle, I love the idea of riding on the beach, but in practice sitting on the beach with a good book and a cocktail is simply more me.

And so "The Horse Dancer" by JoJo Moyes held no immediate appeal. Full credit to the author for making me stick with the book and eventually fall in love with the characters, including the horse.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top 5 Places To ...

Have you ever done it in an aeroplane? In a train? On a boat?

(This reminds me of a Dr Seuss book, Green Eggs And Ham, the part when it goes: "Would you, could you, on a boat?")

Here are my 5 memorable locations and/or wishful thinking places (I will admit nothing online):

  • aeroplane
  • in the rain
  • scuba diving
  • in a busy parking lot
  • under a card table
Fantasy? Fiction? If you read Sweet Somethings you might find out.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Top 5 Love Songs of the 1980s

  1. Who wants to live forever - Queen
  2. I want to know what love is - Foreigner (I stole this title for a short story in Sweet Somethings)
  3. Careless Whisper - George Michael
  4. Hello - Lion Richie
  5. I just called to say I love you - Stevie Wonder
Phew! It was difficult to do just 5. Where's Paul and Elton? Jennifer, Cindy, Bonnie, Tina? What about Chess?

This may be a recurring blog. LOL.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sherlock Holmes - the TV Series

Whoever thought that the modernised version of Sherlock Holmes could introduce us to one of the most surprising love stories of the 21st century? I'm talking about Season 3, Episode 3. If you haven't seen it yet, you'll be in for a treat.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Red Sparkling Wine

I've discovered a new type of sparkling wine: red. Nor rose, not pink. Deep, dark red. Usually made from shiraz grapes. Served at wine cooler temperatures. Distinctly different, heavier in taste, but just as wonderful as a celebratory drink.

Goes a treat together with Something Spicy. Or Spicy Somethings.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Love poems by Yvonne Walus

today i daydream in ochre
sepia memories faded and pale
bending to will
supple with age
masterpieces of times passed
masterpieces of times faked
masterpieces of faked times
that truly never were
today i daydream in lies


you and i and our relationship
we bank the fire of passion
fuel the fever of disease
we paint over the rosy past
spotlight the pain
and every now and then

we taste a morsel of regret


the obligatory white dress
a walk down the aisle
a glitter of gold
and a three-tiered cake
like a fairy tale
or a cliché

three decades later
dreams snapped like a twig
the heart too indifferent
to care

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (the author of Love And Other Foreign Words) is an unusual book. Although the heroine is a high school student, I wouldn’t place it in a Young Adult or New Adult section of a bookstore. (Remember bookstores? Those magical places that helped you discover new authors, new genres, new releases?) The message is surprisingly deep, and the narrative voice mature. No irritating teenagers here, I promise!

The blurb doesn’t really do the book justice, but here it is:

Here Comes the Bride -- If She Can Pass Chemistry.

Eighteen-year-old Bronwen Oliver has a secret: She's really Phoebe, the lost daughter of the loving Lilywhite family. That's the only way to explain her image-obsessed mother; a kind but distant stepfather; and a brother with a small personality complex. Bronwen knows she must have been switched at birth, and she can't wait to get away from her "family" for good.

Then she meets Jared Sondervan. He's sweet, funny, everything she wants -- and he has the family Bronwen has always wanted too. She falls head over heels in love, and when he….

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Big Bang Theory - Season 8

As the latest season of The Big Bang Theory dropped its proverbial curtain, we were left with more than one cliff hanger.  


Will Penny and Leonard make it to Vegas and go through the spontaneous wedding?
Will Amy and Sheldon patch things up, and what will happen to The Ring?

Sigh. It was a great finale. I guess I just don’t like change. I’d be quite happy to Penny and Leonard to date forever (what’s so great about marriage anyway?) and for Sheldon to move forward in the bedroom department instead of going the traditional jewellery route. Not that I can fault the script in any way: everybody was acting true to character. More or less. Within the wacko quirky TBBT world anyway.

Season 9 teasers promise that Sheldon will work to win Amy back. Here’s hoping he succeeds.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the mothers in the world. We rock! - check out the google doodle for Mpther's Day!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

RWNZ Conference 2015: Love Thrills

28-30 August

Auckland, City of Sails

Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre

Join us in Auckland as we celebrate the 22nd Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference.

Guest speakers include:
  • Candace Havens -Best selling author
  • Karen Rose- Internationally Best selling author
  • Mary Jo Putney- NYT Best selling author
  • Patricia McLinn- USA Best selling author
  • Nalini Singh- Best selling author (NYT/USA/Publishers weekly)
  • Yvonne Walus
NZ/Australian speakers: Cassandra Dean & Lucy Clark; Sara Hantz & Amanda Ashby; Yvonne Walus; Darian Smith

3.5 days. 20+ workshops. Over 100 writers, editors, agents and publishing industry professionals.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Top 5 Romance Anthologies

In no particular order:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Excerpt from Spicy Somethings

Angelica hated three things: elevators, Christmas, and her ex–husband. Just her luck, she mused, to be spending Christmas Eve stuck between floors in an elevator.
            At least it was on a cruise ship, and not with her ex.
            In fact, the man slouched against the mirrored wall was his direct opposite. Young, younger than her, with that palpable aura of fuck–you that was both an attitude and a proposition. His shoulders were broad, twice as broad as the hips. A strand of hair, just above the dark brows, shimmered glittery purple. 
            Great. Christmas Eve, a broken elevator playing an instrumental medley from the eighties, plus a punk with purple hair. A punk whose hard jaw made her yearn to run her tongue along its line…. Halt! Where did that come from?
            The punk unpeeled himself from the wall and pushed the alarm button. Nothing happened. He held his cell phone above his head. Angelica stood on tiptoe to look. No signal bars.
            “Hi.” His grin flashed a row of teeth, pointy and white--a wolf’s mouth. A vertical groove bisected his lower lip di Caprio style. “I guess it’s too much to expect even a miracle like the iPhone to work in the middle of the ocean.”
            “Sea,” Angelica corrected mechanically. “We’re in the Caribbean.”

            She knew she was being anal. But it was Christmas Eve and she was spending it in a broken elevator. It had mirrors and a plush seat, and its glass door overlooked the sea, but it couldn’t compare to the Captain’s Dinner she was late for.

Buy the book here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Review of Sweet Somethings

This from Amazon:

I just loved these stories. They were, fun, quirky and different. Ms Summers really does put a different slant on romance stories and they're a great read and highly recommended for something just a bit different.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Buy one get another one free

Spicy Somethings by Eve Summers is now available through the Amazon bookstore in both eBook and Print!

Order one now, let me know, and I'll send you How To Write Sex Well totally free.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Terry Pratchett on Life, Marriage, And Everything

  • marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.

  • “Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.” 

  • Sergeant Colon owed thirty years of happy marriage to the fact that Mrs. Colon worked all day and Sargent Colon worked all night. They communicated by means of notes. They had three grown-up children, all born, Vimes had assumed, as a result of extremely persuasive handwriting.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Eve Summers in print

If you’re tempted by the romance in Sweet Somethings or the heat of Spicy Somethings, but you prefer the feel of real paper, we have great news for you. Both books will soon be available in print.

Excerpt from Sweet Somethings:

This is my To-Do-Before-I-Turn-30 list:
•         Eat an ostrich egg. Check.
•         Play with a cheetah cub. Check.
•         Swim with a dolphin. Check.
•         Scuba dive in a foreign country. Double check for doing it at night.
•         Skydive. Check, bonus points because I wasn’t scared.
•         Dare to love again. Nah, cross it out. So not going to happen. I’ve learned my lesson.
•         Make love on a yacht.
•         ... With a stranger for extra points.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not into one-night stands. The idea of getting close and intimate with someone I’m not emotionally involved with gives me the creeps. I only included it in my to-do list because I was hurt and devastated and not thinking straight.
Getting dumped wasn’t on my to-do list. Neither was an impromptu trip to Africa. When my now-ex-boyfriend broke up with me, I simply sold my engagement ring and booked the first holiday package I found. My Before-I-Turn-30 list was born on the long flight towards the Black Continent.
And now I’m in Africa. The sun is hot. The air is hot. My energy levels are up there with over-boiling. In just two short weeks, I managed to put a big fat checkmark next to five items on my bucket list. Beats choosing the wedding cake, that’s for damned sure.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Rosie Effect

The Rosie Effect is the sequel to superbly wonderful debut called The Rosie Project, but I suspect you can read it as a stand-alone. Although the protagonists are newly married, this is very much a love story, and a reminder to us all that there is no such thing as “lived happily ever after”: you have to work for it, compromise, fight for it. And if you fail, you should try and try and try again.

If you like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, you’ll fall in love with Don. You might even learn an obscure fact or two along the way. I’m betting once you’ve read the book, you’ll never confuse yellow and blue tuna again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Love stories - Short Fiction Collection


Facebook is weird. It lets you list your favorite movies (Casablanca) and music (Snow Patrol) and books (Joshilyn Jackson), it shows updates about your day (another late night at the office, Christopher was asleep by the time I got home), and yet it fails to capture the very essence that makes you—you.
Growing up, I wore homemade clothes because my parents couldn’t afford labels or even store–bought dresses. It made me feel inferior, but also loved beyond belief, because every garment I wore had been lovingly designed, cut and sewn by my mom. Where do I write that on Facebook?
My short–term goal is to work saner hours, my dream is for my son to get to know his dad, and my secret fantasy involves a happily–ever–after with Luke. Facebook remains totally oblivious of all that.
I choose not to confirm Luke as a friend. A Facebook friendship would be so much less than what we once had.
That leaves me one option: I have to go to the reunion.


The school hall is dim with ambience lights and the speakers pump out hits from five years ago. The music was lame then and is even lamer now, and yet a tiny trickle of nostalgia seeps into my heart.
Luke and I once danced to that song in the darkest corner of this very hall.
Get a grip.
I pass a few people I don’t recognize and wave to those I do. When I spot Clara, my arm freezes mid–gesture. The guy she’s talking to... I know the shape of those shoulders, the line of that neck.
I need to speak to him before I lose the courage to do what’s right. Even if he’s married, he’s entitled to know about his son.
“Glad you could make it,” Clara says, though I can tell she’s not thrilled to see me. “How’s Christopher?”
My cheeks grow hot. I dare not glance at Luke. “Fine. He’s gone to Jemima for the night.”
Clara has no idea how I feel about Luke but she does know how I feel about Jemima the nanny, the ‘other woman’ in Christopher’s life. “You all right with it?”
“Sure.” Not really, but I don’t have a choice. A modern mom is supposed to leave her child and earn a living, especially if she’s a single mom. And after she pays childcare and transport and taxes, she’s actually worse off financially than if she were getting financial support from the government. Meanwhile, her child is raised by strangers. One day somebody will explain how that makes sense.
“Abby. You remember Luke Taylor?”
“Sure,” I say again. I remember every moment.
My head is so empty and light, I feel I’m about to float away. Right now, that would suit me fine. I don’t know how to greet him. Should I give him a hug? A peck on the cheek? Five years.

“Hello, Luke.” My tongue grates on the sandpaper of my palate. Talking hurts. Swallowing hurts. Looking at him hurts the most.

See more

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Spicy Somethings

How many ways are there to have flaming wild sex? Count them all in these 10 erotic short stories from master storyteller Eve Summers. 

Hot beaches? Check. Fast boats? You bet. Elevators? Shh... don’t tell.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Journey

The Journey by Keitha Smith is no ordinary love story. It's a literal and figurative journey the heroine must undertake in order to overcome the wounds of her childhood and open up to the possibility of romance.

The book is beautiful and delicate, like its heroine. You will fall in love with New Zealand's countryside, with vine fairies, and with the fellow travellers.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Perfect Honeymoon Hotel

I'm sure you all have a secret fantasy about a hotel, one which is the essence of romance, luxury and indulgence. Picture it in your mind now. What is it? An opulent Swiss chalet, like the one favoured by the British royalty? A super-modern sleek-lined glass-and-metal designer's dream? A villa standing on stilts in crystal-clear water tucked away on a Pacific island somewhere?

Up until a week ago, my own fantasy would have gravitated towards the last option. Now, however, my fantasies are more colonial in colour, more sophisticated, more gratifying. They now have a name: the Raffles hotel in Singapore.

Having spent one glorious night at the Raffles, I now want to have a second honeymoon just so that I can return here for a whole week. Make that two. Hang on, isn't the old meaning of a honeymoon a honey-month? I could do with a month at the Raffles. 

So, what makes the hotel so special? Why do I love it? Let me count the ways. It's the sleek architectural lines of the buildings, the grand lobby, the tranquil gardens. It's the attention to details: from the fresh white paint on the columns, through the extensive wine collection and genuine smiles of the staff, to the smell of frangipani, It's the sense of history dating back to 1887: the ancient grandfather clock which still stands in the same place it did when the hotel first opened its door, the cast iron fountain in the Palm Garden brought over from Glasgow over 100 years ago, the large collection of original 19th century photographs of Singapore and South East Asia.

The food is not just any hotel food. The hotel's lunch and dinner restaurant, modestly called The Grill, is often judged number one in Singapore's culinary competitions. This is an example of what you might expect during a degustation at The Grill:

  1. DUCK FOIE GRAS terrine, amaranth popcorn, pineapple kumquat chutney 
  2. ROASTED SCALLOPS, braised endives with citrus aroma, barberry sauce 
  3. STEAMED COD dusted with mushrooms, shellfish, salsify, light cream sauce 
  4. GRILLED OMAHA PRIME BEEF TENDERLOIN, new potatoes, sand carrots, teriyaki reduction  
  5. DARK CHOCOLATE CREAM, citrus tangy juice, pure “Guanaja” chocolate sherbet 

Although we missed out on The Grill, we did have a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Billiard Room. I promise I will never look at a buffet meal quite the same way. The dishes on offer were so varied, I couldn't sample more than a third of them, even though I was only taking a teaspoon of each. Every mouthful was exquisite - my new word of choice, and one that describes the Raffles precisely. As was the wine recommended by the sommelier (Laurenz V: SUNNY Grüner Veltliner), which tasted like a combination of non-grassy Sauvignon Blanc and non-sweet Pinot Gris).

The bedrooms are private and airy, the beds offer perfect support. And yes, there is a pillow menu.

I think the only thing that would equal a honeymoon here would be a Raffles wedding. Just imagine the photo opportunities!

Just Married! The Raffles Fasade

The bride on the staircase at the Raffles Hotel

The Couples Suite at the Raffles Spa

The residential Suite Bedroom

The lobby of the Raffles Hotel

A glimpse of the Raffles Hotel