Book Review - More Easy Party Treats For Children

by Janette Mocke (Struik) ISBN: 9781432305598


Have you ever noticed that you can bake gorgeous cakes at any time, but try to bake one the night before your child’s birthday party and then it’s a disaster? You forget the baking powder. The icing melts. It burns. True story, it happens to us every year.

We were thrilled to find this book. It’s a no-bake party book and the ideas are awesome. As in, we haven’t seen it a million times on Pinterest already. And it’s really no-bake. 

There are several themes to choose from and they are super easy to make. You get to use cookies and chocolates and gums to make trains, bees, make-up, monsters and all kinds of animals. We wanted to try out some of the ideas. So we let the kids choose a design that they liked. They chose the train and we gave them the ingredients and that was it. See the full story here.

The ideas are easy enough that they could do it all by themselves. They loved building the trains and loved eating them even more. 

This is an awesome book to use for parties or just for fun. The kids have listed all the other things they’d like to make. As you can imagine it is a long list. And they have chosen their party themes for the next thirteen years, we’re just wondering how we’re going to explain that some of the themes might not be entirely appropriate for a 21st birthday. 

This is the second book in the series and we’ll certainly be buying the first one. All your baking woes sorted. Enjoy! 

Mia Botha and Blair Scheepers
www.thehappygoluckyclub.com
5/5

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

Book Review - Granite

by Jenny Robson (Tafelberg) ISBN: 978-0-624-07309-3 


Mokomba is a young boy of fifteen winters from Zimba Remabwe, a fictional city inspired by the Zimbabwe Ruins. He tells the story of his great city, his king’s command, and his adventure to a faraway land and how it all ended. The story is told by Mokomba, but written down by Shafiq, an Arab trader who has made the city his home. They are the viewpoint characters who share the story with us. 

Written in the lovely, lilting rhythms of Africa this book created a wonderful version of this city. A city, which trades with Europe and Arab states, and has an ambitious king who seeks all the wonders of the world for his own kingdom. I have always been fascinated by the Zimbabwe ruins. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed this story so much. It was entertaining and refreshing. 

Mia Botha
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 - A Robot In The Garden

by Deborah Install (Doubleday) ISBN 9780857523020 


Ben lives in Berkshire with his wife, Amy in the home he has inherited from his parents. Ben does not work, but thinks he would like to be a vet. Amy is a successful lawyer. The couple are not happy, but Ben seems oblivious to the dire state of his marriage. 

Then a robot appears in their garden. This is not as odd as it sounds because the book is speculative fiction, set in the future or an alternative present, where every household has an android helper. For the first time in years, Ben is intrigued. Amy is not. She is not interested in the battered machine and longs for an android, which Ben refuses to get.

Ben's obsession with the robot who seems to think his name is Tang, is the last straw for Amy and she leaves. Ben decides to try to find Tang's manufacturer because he seems to be running out of an unidentifiable fluid that keeps him going. Concerned for his new companion's well-being, he takes Tang to America in search of his maker.

Along the way, Ben rediscovers his humanity. Tang, who is more human than most people, teaches Ben to stop living like a robot. I loved this charming, whimsical book.

Amanda Patterson
4/5

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Set in the not too distant future when all houses have an android for a servant, Ben meets Tang in his garden. Tang is a robot, an old, retro robot, with a leaky cylinder. Tang is damaged and helping him gives Ben a purpose. 

Amy, Ben’s wife is less than impressed with her husband’s new obsession and leaves him. It’s not the only reason for her leaving, but let’s say it was the last straw. Ben and Tang set off on a world-wide adventure to find Tang’s creator. 

I am in love, with a robot and this just when I had sworn off all pre-midlife male stories. Ben has to grow up and deal with his repressed grief and Tang, an evolving child-like robot, helps him and forces him back into the world he has been avoiding. 

There are plenty of coincidences and the story has a deceptive simplicity to it, but I had a goofy grin on my face all the way through. And as the mother of two evolving humans Deborah got the tangtrum, question-asking, gaffer-tape fiddling, leg swinging aspect just right. Well done, Ms Install. I look forward to your next offering. 

Mia Botha
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 Circle

by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton) ISBN: 9780241146491 


Mae Holland has finished college heavily in debt, but thanks to her friend, Annie, one of the Gang of 40 in The Circle, she is able to leave her awful job and starting working for the most admired company in America. The Circle is a Google-like entity that has overtaken all other social media and Internet companies thanks to its genius founder, Ty Gospodinov, one of the Three Wise Men who own it. He has created a revolutionary universal operating system which gives users one online identity. This gives way to a new age of civility (no more trolls) and transparency.

The Circle is a paradise filled with beautiful office spaces. Employees attend nightly parties, or listen to famous musicians playing on the lawn – a different one every day - or join athletic activities and clubs, and attend endless dinners and brunches. There is medical care, nutritional advice, and everything you could wish for on the campus. Mae has to work hard, and almost obsessively interact within The Circle. 

Life beyond the company grows distant, and after an incident where she is almost arrested, she is more than happy to become the first ‘transparent’ employee at The Circle. She is terrified of losing her job and the health care benefits for her ill father. Her life is placed under scrutiny, as she wears a camera that shows everything she does to millions of Circlers around the planet. Mae becomes the beloved face of The Circle.

Soon, the world starts closing in, as the Circle gets politicians to wear the same device. There seems to be nowhere to hide with cameras popping up all over the world. Nobody can disappear, as Mae finds out when an ex-boyfriend of hers tries to drop off the grid. Where will it end?

This is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World filled with too much information, coupled with George Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ from 1984. This dark satire is well-written and worth reading. The Circle is probably just around the corner.

Amanda Patterson
www.writerswrite.co.za
4.5/5

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I think is my favourite book of the year. It’s like reading George Orwell’s 1984. It’s so ludicrous it’ll never happen, right? Right? 
When Mae is hired by the most powerful internet company she is thrilled. It is a company that celebrates transparency and connectivity. Who doesn’t want to share everything? Show everything? 

Mia Botha
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.

Tigers in Red Weather

by Liza Klaussmann (Picador) ISBN 978-1-4472-1205-8

 

This is the part of the review where I should be telling you what the book is about. Not as easy as you would think with this one. Not only does she use five viewpoints, the book suffers from a serious case of genre confusion as well.

 

Nick and Helena are cousins. Nick is married to Hugh and they have a daughter, Daisy. Helena’s son is Ed and she is married to a shady, obsessed Hollywood wannabe. It starts off as a study of oppressed housewives, jumps to the children finding a body, then Hugh has an epiphany, after which Helena and Ed delighted me with their dark jealousies and sick minds and saved the book and the ending with delightful shiver down the spine.

 

To elaborate more would give too much away so forgive my ambiguity. I loved the settings. I too want a house with a name and a matching boat and party bunting and cocktail hour. The dialogue is engaging and effortless. The different viewpoints are fun, but reminded me more of a creative writing exercise in characterisation than of a story.

 

The slow start also almost had me putting the book down. Full marks for gin in jam jars though and just for that I’ll upgrade it from a 2.5 to 3/5.

 

Mia Botha

3.5/5

 

 

This is an excellent read. The main character, Nick, is a restless woman. She says she loves her cousin, Helena but the author shows you very cleverly how she demoralises her.

 

This book reveals the epitome of East Coast glamour in the 1930s and 1940s. It is the era of martinis and cigarettes and spoiled women with their pampered children. And how well the author combines sexiness with loving motherhood. 

 

Tiger House is where it all happens. World War 11 is just ending and Nick expects her husband home at last. Meanwhile her cousin, Helena finds married bliss, sort of, in Hollywood.

 

Ed is Helena’s grown son. He is a totally ghastly character. Daisy, Nick’s daughter, is interested in tennis and carries an air of innocence with her. This makes her friendship with Ed terrifying. Who knows what he’ll do to her.

 

I couldn’t put this book down. The author tells of family feuds so well and her characters are very real. I recommend this book strongly if you enjoy a good read.

 

Dee Andrew

5/5

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