What’s on your bookshelf #13

There is a bit of a mixed bag on this month’s bookshelf. It was also a month where I had lots of other distractions and even had a couple of weekends where no book was picked up (just cooking magazines and cookbooks!). However, I did read a few things, and of course it is time once again for what’s on my bookshelf, a monthly round up of books read – enjoyed or otherwise hosted by hosted by SueDonnaJo and Deb. Check the link here.

To start, after watching an excellent but not much like the book, I had to re-read John Wyndham’s classic work of science fiction, The Midwich Cuckoos. I have read it many times over the years, but it is a while since I last picked it up, and enjoyed it as much as the first time. This old edition of the book features a still from the 1960 film and I believe belonged originally to my brother!

Another older book, Amanda Cross’s Poetic Justice, was first published in 1970. I kind of liked it, and there were some humorous moments, but it was a little dry. I have another one of her books in my pile that I picked up in a second hand book shop which I will read at some point. Have any of you read any of her works?

So to two novels by New Zealand authors. In Amber’s Wake by Christine Leunens tells the tale of a young man who falls hopelessly in love with a young woman and how, over the years, their relationship develops. The Springbok tour and the bombing of the Greenpeace ship The Rainbow Warrior set the historical background. I am not sure what I thought of this book – beautifully written, well drawn characters, good story, but I didn’t really enjoy it. To be honest, I think it took too long to read ie too long breaks between each reading session.

In contrast, Laurence Fearnley’s latest novel Winter TIme may well end up as one of my top 10 books of the year. The blurb says “Having returned to the Mackenzie Country to deal with the unexpected death of his brother, Roland has more than enough on his plate. He could do without the demands of a cantankerous neighbour, the complaints of his partner back in Australia and discovering that someone is impersonating him online, stirring up the locals against him“. It was a wonderful book, where you could smell, touch and taste all that was happening. I have loved three of her other books that I have read, so I was pleased to find this another good read.

So to this month’s food related book and this collection of recipes from London based Middle Eastern restaurant Honey & Co. I loved listening to their podcast a while back, so it was great to find this book in a second hand bookshop. There are some lovely looking things such as a version harira soup, interesting sounding sumac and vanilla shortbread and a marmalade and dried fruit cake.

Finally…I am about half way through Claire Kohda’s debut book Woman, Eating. The story centres on a mixed race vampire (really!) and so far I am really enjoying it. Definitely a character driven novel! Small update: this is definitely a book about finding your identity and bares no relation to Twilight style vampire novels.

As I mentioned last month, the book club I am part of uses a three ‘star’ system to rate books but instead of stars, we pick something associated with the book. So for this month:

  • Amanda Cross Poetic Justice: 2 university professors
  • John Wyndham The Midwich Cuckoos: 3 golden haired children
  • Christine Leunens In Amber’s Wake: 2 yachts
  • Laurence Fearnley Winter Time: 3 piles of snow
  • Claire Khoda Human, Eating: not quite finished but good so far!
  • Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich Honey & Co At Home: 3 jars of tahini

So that is my reading for this month. Have you read anything good, or any of the books I have read?

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. Hi, Barbara – Thank you for joining us at WOYBS. I always greatly enjoy your posts. I haven’t yet read anything that you mentioned here. But I did very much relate to reading a book with too long of a gap between reading sessions….and that totallly messing up things up. This happened to me with Jane Austen’s Persuassion which I will soon have to give a second (gapless) reading! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I noticed immediately the age of these books: the cracked spines, the white edges of the covers, the old-timey font. In addition to your reviews, your blog reminds me to peruse my own bookshelves for my next read!


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