Book Review - The Big Five

Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life by Dr Sanjiv Chopra with David Fisher (Thomas Dunne Books) ISBN: 9781250065339


The author explores and explains the evidence regarding the incredible benefits of coffee, Vitamin D, exercise, meditation, and nuts. The evidence is conclusive. There is no doubt that drinking coffee, maintaining high but normal levels of Vitamin D, meditating, and eating a handful of nuts is good for you. 

This is no fad study. Each of the recommendations outlined in this book has been proven by an overwhelming number of tests, trials, and studies. Each page of this little book exhorts you to take note of the reasons for his findings. They say heed the advice and live a longer and healthier life. 

Incredible as it may seem, coffee makes you smarter and improves physical performance. It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's plaque forming in your brain. Vitamin D comes from sunlight; it can be used to prevent prostate cancer and other cancers, such as pancreatic cancer.

There are too many findings to write down here. Just read the book. It is powerful stuff. I’m on my third cup of coffee. 

Dee Andrew
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 - The Forgotten Summer

by Carol Drinkwater (Michael Joseph) ISBN 978718183097


The Forgotten Summer is a lovely read that keeps you on your toes. 

The annual grape harvest at the Cambon family's vineyard is always a cause for celebration, but things change when an accident destroys the crop, leaving the estate facing ruin. 

Clarisse Cambon knows exactly who to blame - her daughter-in-law Jane. There is no end to the nastiness that Clarissa hurls at Jane. It's just the latest incident in a decades-long feud whose origin both women have concealed from Luc, who struggles to keep his wife and mother on speaking terms. 

When Jane gets the news that Luc is in a tragic accident, Jane wonders what secrets her husband has been keeping from her. Forced to take charge of the ailing vineyard, Jane uncovers proof that Luc may not be the man she fell in love with twenty years ago. And Clarisse is the only one who knows the truth . . . 

This novel is beautifully written, but she does get carried away with her descriptions. 

Dee Andrew
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 - Property of a Noblewoman

by Danielle Steel (Bantam Press) ISBN: 9978059306907
 

Danielle Steel is always an enjoyable read. 

An abandoned safe-deposit box in a New York City Bank reveals a treasure trove of priceless jewellery. Court clerk, Jane Willoughby is charged with discovering more about the mysterious owner, the late Marguerite Wallace Pearson di San Pignelli. 

Jane is sad to think that these most precious possessions are to be sold off. Why did Marguerite never claim them?  Jane and Christie’s auctioneer, Phillip Lawton are thrown together in a quest to find out more about Marguerite’s story. 

But the search turns personal—and their efforts to reconstruct an enigmatic life lead them from New York to London and Paris, to Rome and Naples, and a series of stunning revelations that will change their lives forever. 

Dee Andrew
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 - Wine, Women and Good Hope

A History of Scandalous Behaviour at the Cape by June McKinnon (Zebra Press) ISBN 9781770229860 

In this beautifully-researched book historical figures come alive. Their family names belong to our parents and grandparents. The race for diamonds forced people to live in Kimberley. The Witwatersrand crawled with gold prospectors. The de Villiers and Cloetes opted for the wine farms in the Cape. The French Huguenots settled in South Africa bringing their religious beliefs with them. 

Every family scandal sheds light on all our ancestors in a humorous and truthful way. The Dutch East India Company established a refreshment station at the foot of Africa. It gained a dubious reputation for offering more than fresh food. Men who had been starved of female company while at sea, headed straight for the fleshpots of the Cape. Alcohol was an excellent bedfellow with sex. 

South Africans are warned not to search in the gilded corridors of Blenheim or the mirrored halls of Versailles for their family trees, but rather take a look at family trees in Europe’s dingy backwaters. I enjoyed every salacious and innocent page of this book and see resemblances to the past in every person whose name I know. 

Dee Andrew
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 Secret Society

Cecil John Rhodes’s Plan for a new World Order by Robin Brown (Penguin Books) ISBN 9781770229204 


You can tear a statue down but you cannot expunge the history that caused the statue to be built in the first place. 

Tall, intelligent, nineteen-year-old Cecil John Rhodes was sent from England to South Africa after being diagnosed with a heart and lung disease in the hopes that the dry air might delay the inevitable. 

Rhodes lived his life fulfilling goal after goal in a very short time. The diamonds from Kimberly and gold from the Witwatersrand made him rich beyond his wildest dreams. After five years he became Prime Minister of the Cape. He was not interested in money. He needed money to form a Secret Society that would become used to fund a peaceful World Empire. Trusty friends were sworn to loyalty. Alfred Beit, Charles Rudd, Dr Leander Jameson were some of them. Beit and Rudd died with fortunes larger than Rhodes. Rhodes motto was “equal rights for every civilised man, black or white, basically literate, owning some property and who was not a loafer”. 

Wherever he went Rhodes had one or two lambs with him. He carried a book called ‘Confessions of Faith’. He had the ear of the Queen and many wealthy aristocrats. Although Rhodes was a misogynist, he had friends like Olive Schreiner and Princess Radziwell. A voracious reader, he had a remarkable collection of books covering all aspect of history at Groote Schuur. 

This is a memorable book. The story unfolds with names we recognise like Rothschild, Barney Barnato, Oscar Wilde, Sir Herbert Baker and of course Lobengula. You might have to read and re-read chapters. Rhodes is a Collossus. The Matabeles roared 'Brythe' as he was lowered into his grave on the Rhodesian hillside. 

Dee Andrew
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 House On Cold Hill

by Peter James (Macmillan) ISBN 9781447290674 

They said the dead can’t hurt you...they were wrong. I was fascinated with this story from the beginning, where a ghostly old lady dressed in blue with a hideous smile, walks through walls. 

Ollie and Caro and daughter Jade are thrilled with their new castle like home.  There is a drip from an old ceiling in the main bedroom which forces Caro and Ollie to move into the four poster iron bedstead in the attic. They wake up to find the bed has been turned around completely, in spite of the smallness of the room. Caro is beginning to realise that the house is haunted. Ollie doesn’t want to acknowledge this because he loves the place. A night of the wallpaper becoming so damp that they have to leave the room is a puzzle because in the morning the sopping wet wallpaper is bone dry. 

The wonderful way that the author brings in a horde of workmen makes everything in the house seem so normal. Then there are messages on Ollie’s phone which disappear. Threatening messages. Caro and Jade decide to leave. Ollie runs after them. Read on. 

The ending is as ghostly as the beginning. I couldn’t put this novel down. 

Dee Andrew
Www.writerswrite.co.za
5/5

“They said the dead can’t hurt you … they were wrong”. The by-line on the cover of Peter James’ latest book should send chills down your spine. 

Ollie decides that he needs to take risks so he uproots his wife, Caro, and 13-year-old daughter, Jade, from their comfortable city life to live in their dream house in the country. The house is big and old and it soon becomes clear that Ollie does not have enough money to repair and renovate. One flaw after another is revealed by the builders who declare that without repairing, the house could fall down. And to add to Ollie’s worries, the ghosts reveal themselves. As the ghosts become belligerent, Caro is warned via a medium that their lives are in danger. Ollie refuses to be intimidated. Besides, repairing the house has exhausted their life-savings so the family cannot afford to leave. 

Jade seems to accept the presence of the ghosts as ‘cool’. Although she is an interesting character, I did find this acceptance from a young teen difficult to understand. The first chapter sets the tone but is confusing. It is only towards the end of the story that the chapter starts to make sense. James also tends to add in irrelevant detail that does not add to the suspense and can be irritating. 

There are a few storylines that are left unanswered and the ending is too predictable. An easy book to read for ghost lovers but not worth it if you like a plot that will keep you scared out of your wits. 

Ulrike Hill
www.writerswrite.co.za
2/5

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

Book Review - Private Vegas

by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Century) IBSN 0781780890203

Private Vegas is one of three in the series of Private novels which James Patterson has co-written with Maxine Paetro. Short chapters take you on a fast paced journey from one action scene to the next. The pages of this book are filled with murder, crime and corruption. 

Jack Morgan, the head of Private Investigations, has his hands full. LAPD need assistance to catch a pair of slippery Foreign Diplomats wanted on multiple rape charges. His quick-tempered friend is charged with attempted murder. His car is firebombed outside his house. A young girl dies in a similar incident. His underhanded twin brother is up to no good again. 

He suspects that his ex, whom he is casually involved with, is seeing someone on the side. A wealthy client confesses to killing his pretty little young wife and demands that Jack make it go away. His personal assistant runs into trouble while undercover to expose a moneymaking marriage scam. 

There is never a dull moment in this action packed page turner. 

Maria Vosloo
www.writerswrite.co.za
4/5

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Jack Morgan head of Private Investigations is being pushed to the limit. His car has been firebombed, his ex is dating someone else, and his twin brother is still out to destroy him. Add to that, Jack’s best friend is being held on a trumped-up charge that could see him locked away for a very long time, and it seems like all bets are off... 

Private Vegas is full of sex, people on the run, guns, double dealing, and scumbags who have diplomatic immunity. But Private doesn’t rest in its search for justice. This novel hits the ground running and the pace heats up from page to page. 

Dee Andrew
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

A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String

by Joanne Harris (Doubleday) ISBN: 9780857521200


Joanne Harris writes fabulous fables that reveal the journeys her characters take in sixteen short stories. River Song spoke to me. I felt myself slithering over smooth stones in the river. The next story brings the beach to two oldies in a home.  One tray of water for her feet makes her remember the sea.  The other blind lady has a tray of sand where her feet remember the beach. 
Meet the ghost who lives on the Twitter timeline - Joanne says no-one really dies on line – or do they?  Then there’s the story where they aren’t really selling their children, just sending them to the Promised Land.  Then, think of your road having a voice – maybe taking you home.  Joanne describes it as being still warm, like an animal.  Read on to Love me Tender reminding us of Elvis.  And then, in praise of Beech trees, which she sees as sensitive, unlike heavy Oaks.  
Each story brings an unusually gripping tale to be read, a mixture of reality and fantasy. The stories have a build-up, a fast flow of words, and a death of sorts. 

Dee Andrew
3.5/5

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

Book Review - The Sins of the Mother

by Danielle Steel (Random House) Price R195 ISBN 978-0-59306-313-2 


As always Danielle Steel is an author to be enjoyed. Whether the moral of the story is correct is for you to decide.  Olivia Grayson has made difficult choices. The successful businesswoman missed out on much of her children’s lives while she built her legendary home-furnishings empire. 

It does seem as though lots of money can cover old wounds between parents and children, and Olivia plans one lavish holiday every year to make amends. Will her daughters, Cassie, and Liz, ever understand? And will her sons, John and Phillip, who work for her, forgive her? 

I didn’t see Olivia as a sinner. She chose to work and see little of her children growing up and the family’s resentment of that fact cannot change. I felt sympathetic towards a mother who never stops loving her family in spite of their resentments. Problems arise and Olivia is always there to help out. A very well written, enjoyable Danielle Steel story. 

4/5

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

Crusher

by Niall Leonard (Random House) R150  ISBN 978-0-857-53209-1



Finn McGuire discovers his father bludgeoned to death in a pool of blood at his desk. He becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Finn must race against time to clear his name and find out who the real murderer is.  

Scouring the sordid London streets of the underworld for answers, Finn faces danger at every turn. He is about to find he people you trust are the ones who deceive you. This story is about blood stained fights, where Finn survives by a whisker. This is a thrilling crime fighting book that takes you from one bloody scene to the next. Terror lives with Finn. No matter where he looks friends turn out to double cross him. The silence of the house when he is alone hides enemies crawling towards him in the dark.  

His only ally is himself and in the end he wins and is proved innocent. This is not a book for the faint hearted but the story grips you and forces you to turn the pages. This is well-written and hard-hitting. It is probably a man’s book, but tough women will welcome the terror. 

Dee Andrew
3.5/5

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