Book Review - Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries

by Helen Fielding (Jonathan Cape) ISBN: 978-1-911-21456-4 


The world’s favourite Singleton is back in this latest novel that is a prequel to Bridget Jones:  Mad About The Boy

Bridget is her glorious and irreverent self in this novel, something that was clearly lacking in the last. She finds herself single again after Mark Darcy breaks up their engagement due to a minor indiscretion with Daniel Cleaver at their engagement party.  At least she is finally at her ideal weight. 

She is delighted to find herself accidentally pregnant, but there’s one tiny problem. She’s not sure who the father is. In one week she bumps into and beds both Mark and Daniel. She’d love for it to be Mark since Daniel is his usual emotionally unavailable, philandering self. Mark is back to being perfect and attentive. Daniel predictably turns Bridget’s pregnancy into a contest of the dominant sperm. 

Bridget not only has to contend with the smug-marrieds of the first two novels, but now the smug-mums too. She undergoes a touching metamorphosis as she prepares for the arrival of her baby. The book is written in the usual breezy diary form. A toothsome and indulgent read that I finished in a couple of hours. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Shadow Sister - Star’s Story

by Lucinda Riley (Macmillan) ISBN 978-1-4472-8860-2 


This is the third book in The Seven Sisters series, a family saga that begins with the death of the mysterious billionaire known as Pa Salt. His six adopted daughters, the D'Aplièse sisters, are each left a letter, an object, and a set of coordinates, which will take them on a journey to discover their true heritage. 

Lucinda Riley is a wonderful storyteller, and with Star’s story, the threads of past and present are skilfully woven as Star begins to discover herself and finally steps out of her sister CeCe’s shadow. Her journey takes her to an evocative old bookstore in London with a suitably brooding owner, and from there to a country estate in the Lake District. Along the way, Edwardian history comes alive with Lucinda’s rich descriptions and her brilliant use of real characters like Beatrix Potter and Alice Keppel. 

At over 600 pages, it seems a little intimidating at first. But Lucinda definitely holds your attention, taking you deeper into her characters’ lives, convincing you you’re going one way, and then surprising you with yet one more reveal that changes everything.  

I loved her characters, the richness of the settings and that feeling of being swept away by a storyline that keeps expanding. I just wish the next one was a little closer on the horizon! 

Judy Ward
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Thrive!

by Dr Greg Venning (Vital Press) ISBN: 978-0-994-6840-0-4 


It is your turn to Thrive! But, only if you want to. Thrive is written with an energetic flair to change your lifestyle for the better. Dr Greg Venning helps us to understand the bad habits we have created in our lives, to break them down and form new behaviours that ensure we live a healthy and fulfilling life. 

“Are you thriving or simply surviving?” Greg helps us to answer this question simply, and then shares the steps needed to transform our lives with the essential requirements for well-being. Through his case studies, clients, years of research, and working closely with Elan Lohmann (the founder of sleek geeks, a community based group of over 50 000 people with the desires to live healthy lifestyles), he has created this book to show you have the potential to live an extraordinary life. 

Venning doesn’t sugar-coat anything and he hits the nail on the head with every topic. This is not an exercise plan, positive mantra, or diet book. It is about attaining a balanced life, mind and body. Thrive is a read for anyone who isn’t looking for a quick fix but a life transformation. 

Tammany Barton
www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Sbonelo Snoop

by Sarah Groves (Struik Children) ISBN: 9781432306779 


South African story books for children are my favourite. There is no better way to introduce different cultures to a child than by way of a good story. 

Sbonelo Snoop is a story about a 10-year-old detective who takes on cases and tries to solve various mysteries with humorous results. There are three different stories in this book, which will keep young readers hooked. 

The text is large and easy to read, and the pictures are engaging.  Children who are five years and older would be best suited to understanding the story as it does tend to be a bit wordy. 

The author is Sarah Groves who is a free-lance writer based in Pietermaritzburg where she home-schools five children. 

Ashleigh Seton-Rogers
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3/5 

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Shepherds And Butchers

by Chris Marnewick (Umuzi) ISBN: 9781415209011 


'On the tenth of December 1987 at about 18:00 hours on a deserted road near Magazine Hill Reservoir the accused forced the minibus in which the deceased were travelling from the road. He then shot each one of the deceased at least once with a pistol.' 

The accused is Leon Albert Labuschagne, 19-years-old. Lawyers For Human Rights appoints a pro bono advocate to defend him. Before the crimes, Leon was deployed at maximum security on death row as an escort to the prisoners. He was reaching breaking point and grappling with the perplexing question: How can you be a shepherd and then a butcher? 

The story is a mixture of fact and fiction and it is riveting throughout. Gruesome details are revealed concerning murderous criminals, including their abhorrent behaviours and twisted psyches. Yet equally horrifying is the process of implementing the death penalty. Is hanging a deterrent? Are we not as brutal as the criminals? Does violence beget violence? 

This story implies that those who are trained to kill can become automatons and will act on the slightest provocation. 

Shepherds And Butchers is definitely worth reading. 

Dawn Blankfield
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - To Quote Myself

by Khaya Dlanga (Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-77010-471-6


As far as memoirs go, Dlanga’s book is a damn good story. It is well written, often humorous and sometimes really sad. 

To Quote Myself also has the dubious honour of being South Africa's most stolen book. Go figure. Perhaps it is a book that people cannot afford, but really want to know how a person goes from being homeless to one of the most influential voice in South Africa. 

To Quote Myself is about Dlanga’s childhood in a Transkei rural village. His mother had to work and his father abandoned his family for another woman. Dlanga grew up with his grandfather and grandmother who, according to the author, ‘what she lacked in physical appearance, she made up for it in spirit’. His grandfather Kaiser is a well-respected and feared person in the village. From this setup, the reader gets a glimpse into a patriarchal society, a childhood that lacked material resources and often faced difficulties like getting a quality education. 

The stories are written as standalone chapters so sometimes storylines are repeated or names, such as Dlanga’s grandfather’s name, is often introduced as if the reader is meeting the character for the first time. I felt that this made the book a little choppy. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the character that is Khaya Dlanga. 

To Quote Myself is a fascinating story and a must-read for the urban South African. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za 
4/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me

by Andy Martin (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9780593076620


The name Jim Grant probably doesn’t mean much to readers of fiction. How about Lee Child? This lanky Camel-smoking, coffee-drinking author is now on his 20th Jack Reacher novel.  Reacher, his highly popular hero, is a former US military man turns free-roaming investigator and fixer. You’ve probably seen the movie with Tom Cruise … but this isn’t what this book is about.

What goes into the creative process of writing a novel? This book – which will fascinate writers – is a dissection of the approach Child takes in creating his fiction. Andy Martin, a lecturer and author of books on diverse subjects, from Sartre to surfing, shadows the author as he sits down to write his new Reacher title, Make Me. It follows him from page one to the final draft.

Sometimes the text goes off down side alleys to explore issues that are perhaps more interesting to academics than fans of popular fiction. However, the style is very engaging and easy to read. The warmth of the friendship and ribbing between Child and Martin comes off the page.  If you’re a writer, this one is worth a read. 

Anthony Ehlers
www.writerswrite.co.za 
3.5/5
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Writers Write
 offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - Elephant Dawn

by Sharon Pincott (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-4314-2415-3 


This is the third book from Australian conservationist Sharon Pincott, chronicling 13 years of her experiences with the Zimbabwean Presidential Herd of elephants. 

In 2001 Pincott takes the brave decision to leave her comfortable life in Australia to work with elephants in troubled Zimbabwe. Completely self-funded and untrained, she arrives in Zimbabwe wanting to spend time with this herd that was granted protection under a decree from Robert Mugabe himself.

Her days are spent observing various family herds, recording details and forging bonds with the matriarchs. During Pincott’s time there land grabs drastically increase around Hwange National Park and Estate, where the herd roams. She is often threatened as she strongly opposes the sport hunting and poaching in those claimed areas. The book is full of horrific stories of snaring and poisoning juxtaposed with Pincott’s accounts of her deeply intimate bond with the elephant families.

This book showcases the desperate plight of wild animals in Zimbabwe as the country spirals into chaos with each passing year post-independence. It is a genuinely personal account of the hardships and triumphs of a courageous and often hilarious lady. I was riveted. 

Ewa Fabris
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig (Canongate) ISBN: 978-1-78178211-826-8 


Nikolas tries to be a happy boy even though his mother has died and his father is a poor woodcutter. He was born on Christmas day and the only gifts he had ever received were a wooden sleigh and a doll carved out of turnip. Still Nikolas, who is nicknamed Christmas, tries to be happy. 

That is, until his father decides to go to the North Pole to discover if there are such things as elves and pixies. If he can prove their existence, then he will make a lot of money. Nikolas’s cruel aunt comes to live with him while his dad is away. She is mean and makes Nikolas sleep outside. He decides to go to the North Pole. 

And this is the true story about Father Christmas and how he met Blitzen, the reindeer. It is a story about how they nearly die and a kind elf saves them. There are some sad parts, but mostly, it is happy. The illustrations by Chris Mould are wonderful. 

My only criticism? The story seems to have unnecessary toilet humour with people peeing and reindeers pooping all the time. I am not sure what that has to do with magic and Christmas. Perhaps young readers will understand. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Affair

by Sue Hickey and Philippa Sklaar (MF Books) ISBN: 9781920601


Sue Hickey is a psychologist, and Philippa Sklaar a domestic abuse and affair survivor. This book is a compilation of thoughts, reflections and stories from inside the minds of the Narcissistic Cheater, the Sexual Predator and the Romance Addict - the profiles of those who cheat. 

"I know that cheating has nothing to do with loving or not loving, but it does destroy love, among other things." This is a great example of the type of honesty and truth found here. 

What makes this book brave and unique is that it tells stories from both sides of the betrayal fence without judgement and (mostly) in the safety of anonymity. Whilst you're gaping with incredulity at the shocking lies other people tell themselves and their committed partners, you can't help admiring the personal growth in admitting and sometimes dealing with the issues. 

Whilst reading this book with its gorgeous creepy cover I got many disbelieving looks. I think I'll keep it in my bag a little longer - for the train, the hairdresser, and the waits at the doctor's rooms. I’m having so much fun. 

Bev Bouwer
www.writerswrite.co.za 
5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.