Simon's Destiny

by David Bloomberg (Ampersand Press) ISBN 9781919760827

 

Simon Cantor runs a family business in Cape Town called Cantor Fishing. Simon meets Montgomery Imbulelo, a black businessman, who totally changes his way of thinking. This meeting transforms his business from a mostly white company to a multiracial international concern.

 

All those around Simon play a role in weaving a fascinating story which includes fishing and more. Politics plays its part, racial dynamics, corruption, homosexuality, crime, intrigue and health issues are plot points. Of course it includes the intricacies and complications of running a large business.

 

The story is so well constructed and realistic that it seems to be based on fact. The author has certainly done his homework when describing the situations that could well occur in South Africa. It is as though the author is describing the way forward in the new South Africa. It is an interesting, meaningful, inspiring and enjoyable read.

 

The author, David Bloomberg is a former mayor of Cape Town, lawyer, businessman and theatre director.

 

Dawn Blankfield

4/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa

by Nicholas Drayson (Penguin) ISBN 9780670920099

 

This story recaptures the mood of the 1940s and '50s in Kenya.

 

Each chapter begins with a clever quote about animals depicting the meaning behind that chapter. Mr Malik, the main character, is a member of the Ashoi Club - originally a hundred-year-old gentlemen's club. Mr Malik and his friends meet there for billiards, most social events, and important debates about the unsolved murder of Lord Erroll.

 

We are taken on an old-style safari with large tents and a cook. The author describes the animals and countryside in a picturesque and humorous manner. He depicts the characters in the story as refined gentlemen with good old-fashioned manners, while he exposes the hypocrisy of the men in government. Everyone seems so polite - but they are really tongue-in-cheek.

 

After some mysterious happenings, Mr Malik feels he must move with the times: the old will be replaced by the new...or will it?

 

A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa is a charming story that is well-written and refreshing in today's harsh world.

 

Dawn Blankfield

3/5

 

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The City of Abraham: History, Myth and Memory

a Journey through Hebron by Edward Platt (Picador) 9780330420273.

 

Jews, Christians and Muslims all claim to be descendants of Abraham. The city of Hebron, according to the Book of Genesis, houses the holy shrine where Abraham's wife Sarah is buried in the Machpela Cave. The name of the shrine changes according to people's religious beliefs.

 

Platt, who lives in London, visited Hebron between 1999 and 2009. He interviewed many people in Hebron, mainly Muslims and Jews, where he was searching, through their stories, for some semblance of the truth.

 

Palestine in King David's time was the 'area of the Philistine settlement on the coast from Gaza to Jaffa. It was a Phoenician settlement, unconnected to Israel, Judea or Galilee'. This extract explains some of the history of that era. Modern Israel came into existence in 1948. After a war with surrounding Arab states a year later, the 'green line' of accepted borders were formed. This book covers ancient and modern history in Israel and Palestine, predominantly in Hebron.

 

The story is complicated by politics, religion, history and human emotions. The reader needs to find his or her own take on the interviews regarding the conflict. A very difficult situation, although I felt the author empathised more with the Palestinians. Quite a disturbing read, but certainly food for thought.

 

Dawn Blankfield

3.5/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Fallen Star

by Ian Barker (Rebel ePublishers) ISBN 9780986973185.

 

The book's cover gave me the incorrect idea of what to expect from the story. I am glad to say I was wrong. Fallen Star exceeded my expectations.

 

The story begins when a successful band loses their lead singer to a drug overdose. The band cannot continue performing, and the members need to go on their own and find their way forward. We mostly follow the life of Karl. We are shown insights into family dynamics, values and relationships. He has to learn to grow up in the real world.

 

Barker offers some delightful witty humour and dialogue, which seem so natural. At times I felt like a fly on the wall, witnessing the interaction of the characters. The style of writing has an easy flow to it, egging the reader on. Descriptions of the particular scenes set the mood and tone.

 

What started out as a fun, humorous read developed into a thought-provoking novel about what it means to be famous and how fleeting it could be.

 

Dawn Blankfield

4/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Broken Destiny

Book One of the Broken Series by Carlyle Labuschagne (Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.) ISBN 9781612048727.

 

The Broken Destiny is the first book of a series, so don't expect this book to have a conclusion. Ava is a sixteen year old girl who makes some discoveries about her past. These are highly disturbing to her. She resides on planet Poseidon. The people originated from Earth which seems to have been destroyed. Labuschagne’s story is a mixture of science fiction and fantasy.

 

Ava takes us through her terrifying thoughts and feelings at length. She goes through harrowing experiences, which she discovers are part of her destiny to find her true self and to save the people from evil forces.

 

The author has drawn her ideas from ancient African legends and perhaps those of Native Americans. There are some good descriptions of various episodes and one gets to feel the atmosphere of the planet and its three moons.

 

The story will appeal to teenaged readers who may identify with the emotions the characters experience. It might also attract fantasy film makers.

 

Dawn Blankfield

2.5/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The 500

by Matthew Quirk (Headline) ISBN 9780755387410.

 

The 500 will take you on a rollercoaster ride from page one.

 

Mike Ford was raised streetwise. His father taught him the tricks of the trade of how to con people. Having learnt the hard way, he decides to go straight and manages to qualify as a lawyer from Harvard. He is employed by the Henry Davies Group, a powerful political consulting firm. He works his butt off but the money is good and so are the privileges that go with it.

 

He discovers that all is not what it seems. Being on the side of the law is not necessarily moral or honest. He is being manipulated and decides to play a game of his own, which is like a chess game - each move and counter move produces a new result. We see the sleazy side of politics and power mongering. Mike Ford takes a terrifying bumpy ride that leaves you breathless until the end.

 

This is truly a page-turner. If you liked John Grisham's The Firm, this one is for you.

 

Dawn Blankfield

4/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

Legacy of Blood

by Alex Connor (Quercus) ISBN 9781849163620.

 

Alex Connor has written an unusual thriller around the conspiracy of an artwork by William Hogarth, who did actually exist, although this story is a work of fiction. He weaves a tale concerning seven passengers who were travelling on the private jet of an art dealer.

 

The lives of these passengers become entangled through the owner of the plane mentioning this artwork. This piece is surrounded by an old secret which could cause a dangerous scandal affecting important people. Each individual in the story has their own reason for wanting to own the painting.

 

The story uncovers their characters and how they get their lives ruined unintentionally. The power of the painting is actually the focus and we are swept along with it.

The characterisation is good as they are diverse people. One is drawn into the strange occurrences and led to make the connections.

 

It is a good, entertaining read giving some insight into the world of art and its dealers.

 

Dawn Blankfield

3.5/5

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, or The Plain Language Programme - Writing courses for business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

Writers Write - Write to communicate

The Boy in the Snow

by M.J. McGrath (Mantle) ISBN 9780230748194

 

The story begins with an intriguing prologue, immediately sparking the reader's curiosity. Sammy Inukpuk is on an endurance sled race. His sled is drawn by dogs in the Alaskan forest. Edie Kiglatuk, his ex-wife is there with friends to support him. Her belief in 'spirit bears' leads her to a discovery of a dead boy in the forest.

 

She feels compelled to pursue the story behind her find and becomes obsessed in solving the mystery. She is tested to the limit of her endurance. This is one feisty lady. Her tenacity knows no bounds. She is determined to expose people involved in politics, greed and corruption, however dangerous it becomes. She feels she is the only person willing to go all the way to solve the mystery.

 

The story unfolds gradually and the builds momentum to become a thriller, compelling the reader to find the solution to the puzzle. The Alaskan setting adds flavour and authenticity to the story as the descriptions are palpable.

 

An absorbing read that lingers in your mind even after putting it down.

 

Dawn Blankfield

4/5

Subscribe to our daily writing tips by joining our Facebook page


Or by following us on Twitter

Sarah House

by Ifeanyi Ajaegbo (Picador Africa) ISBN 978-1-77010-219-4

 

 What needs to be mentioned, primarily, is that this book, which has a female protagonist, was written by a male author. 

 

He highlights the abuse of women who are used only as commodities to be bought and sold: young girls become sex slaves of pimps, thugs and brothel owners. Thumbs up to him for capturing the essence of the how a woman in this situation would feel.

 

This is also an expose of criminal activities concerning organ transplants. People are used in any way possible to make money, even by so-called respectable politicians.

 

The protagonist is Nita, a young girl from a Nigerian village whose boyfriend promised her a work opportunity in the city. She wakes up in a locked room with other girls and has no idea where she is or what has happened. We are taken on her often harrowing journey that gains momentum compelling the reader to discover what happens to her.

 

The book is very readable and although a first novel, it is exceptionally well written with good insights into the subject.

 

Dawn Blankfield 

4/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, email news@writerswrite.co.za

 

Finding Sarah

by Joanne Jowell (Macmillan) ISBN 978-1-77010-131-9

 

Finding Sarah is about the eating disorder Bulimia.

 

This is a compelling and comprehensive story. The author writes about Sarah and how her life is profoundly changed by the disease. The reader is taken on a journey from when Sarah was a young girl until the present time. We share her feelings, actions, highs and lows. Jowell has interviewed family and friends as well as one of her doctors.

 

Jowell gives an honest personal account of her meetings with Sarah over the years, including her own insights. The author needs to be commended on her patience, tenacity and dedication in compiling the book.

 

Jowell’s holistic approach views the story from many angles and gives an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Resources and recommended reading are included to assist readers in identifying people who may also be suffering from this disease.

 

This is an excellent and satisfying read, providing insights to a greater understanding of this problem. Anyone would find this interesting and enlightening. Highly recommended.

 

Dawn Blankfield

5/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - How to write a book, email news@writerswrite.co.za