Evita’s Bossie Sikelela

by Evita Bezuidenhout (Umuzi) R170  ISBN: 978-1-4152-0156-5

 

A home-grown recipe book tried and tested by the darling of South Africa, Tannie Evita. I love this recipe book, not because I like to cook but it is wonderful to read Tannie Evita’s anecdotes, photographs and South African trivia.

 

The recipes span from Darling to safari at Hoedspruit. Every part of South Africa is represented in this book with short stories and mouth-watering yet easy to make recipes.

 

And, what would a cook book be without Tannie’s Tips. There are many practical tips that include remedies for cramps and how to make a face mask. I did try the recipe for Coronation chicken. It is simple to make and simply delicious. The ideal recipe for leftover chicken and for people who cannot cook.

 

Charlize Theron, a koeksister lover and Evita Bezuidenhout’s friend, writes the foreword to the book. Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Darling Trust. Information about the trust is provided at the back of the book. Evita’s Bossie Sikelela is the perfect gift for food lovers or for people who love a cookbook with a story.

 

Ulrike Hill

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

Rapture

by Lauren Kate (Doubleday) R165  ISBN: 978-0-385-61812-0

 

I am a fan of Lauren Kate. Her imagination is astounding. Kate has taken an esoteric idea and turned it into a supernatural story.

 

Lucifer, a fallen angel, wants to erase the past and control the world. The other angels need to stop him. Lucifer has a special interest in Luce, a mortal, who can stop the dark forces from winning. She alone determines the angels, hers and humankinds’ fate by breaking the curse. It is a rush against time as Luce, Daniel and the angels race to find three relics that will help Luce with her momentous task.

 

At times, I felt that Luce and Daniel did not have that spark that created interesting story points in the first book. This story is more about the chase than it is about romance.

 

The series began with Fallen and Rapture is the fourth and final book. I loved the first book but felt the next two books in the series disappointing and disjointed. Rapturedoes redeem the series. It concludes the story in a way that made me feel that it was worthwhile reading the four books. I recommend Rapture for readers who enjoy this genre.

 

Ulrike Hill

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

From Locker Room to Boardroom

by Ross van Reenan (Zebra Press)  ISBN: 978-1-77022-331-8

 

Do you know that Kobus Wiese, Springbok lock and 1995 World Cup winner, started a successful coffee-shop franchise? I am a coffee lover and can testify to the quality of Wiese’s coffee. Bob Skinstad, eighth man and once Springbok captain is a familiar face on television as a Supersport commentator. Skinstad has taken his experience as rugby captain into the business world. He is MD of Itec Connect Western.

 

Players like Skinstad, Wiese and other rugby greats like Francois Pienaar, Naas Botha and Joel Stransky have used their time on the rugby field as the foundation for building successful businesses. They are proof that there is life after rugby and that rugby can provide essential business skills.

 

Success comes from teamwork. Individuals make up business and sports teams. Diversity joining forces to achieve a common purpose: winning. Strategic discussion in the locker room is not that different to the planning done in the boardroom. Van Reenan translates these business lessons effectively into From Locker Room to Boardroom.

 

As a management consultant and MBA graduate, van Reenan provides business advice and practical business models. Van Reenan has rugby experience by playing 62 Currie Cup matches for Free State. The anecdotes and examples used in the book, the reader will see that rugby players’ challenges are no different to the challenges faced in business.

 

Ulrike Hill

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

City of Bones

by Cassandra Clare (Walker Books) ISBN: 978-1-4063-0762-7

 

There is a dark side to New York, the city that never sleeps. The mundanes (otherwise known as humans) cannot see the supernaturals that roam the streets and fight in wars. The shadow masters are a group of supernaturals who have to clear the city of demons.

 

Fifteen-year-old Clary Clay witnesses a murder at the Pandemonium Club committed by three teenagers. The problem is she has no proof. The body has disappeared. Worse still, her friend Simon cannot see the murderers.

 

When Clary returns home, her house is ransacked and her mother is missing. When she is attacked by a demon, she knows she is in trouble. No-one can help her but the shadow masters. She meets Jace - arrogant and attractive with scars that are not only caused by the demons he has fought. He decides to help Clary find her mother. Fighting side by side, they discover they have a strong attraction. The problem is their love is forbidden.

 

I loved this book. The characters are believable, heroic and memorable. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader in suspense. The ending was unexpected. It has me panting for the next book – the second in the The Mortal Instruments series. Definitely a book to curl up with late at night.

 

Ulrike Hill

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

Death of a Saint

by Lily Herne (Puffin) ISBN: 978-0-14-353007-7

 

Death of a Saint is about teen rebels Lele, Ginger, Ash and Saint otherwise known as the Mall Rats. These teens are not the usual type of heroes. They are dark and rebellious in a city where civilisation no longer exists.

 

The Mall Rats are exiled in post-apocalyptic Cape Town. The Resurrectionists control the city and the Mall Rats are on their most wanted list. The book is filled with zombies otherwise known as Rotters. The strange thing is that the Rotters do not attack the Mall Rats. Obviously, there is a reason for this. There are dark secrets and Lele is the one who knows what the secret is.

 

I found it a difficult book to read. The story jumps from the Lele’s viewpoint to Saint’s which made it difficult for me to engage with the two characters. I did not enjoy the characters’ dialogue that was filled with colloquialism. Reading ‘like this, you know, like it is cool’ becomes irritating.

 

Generally the writing style was good although I found the pace slow. I love the fact that South Africa has a YA series. However, Death of a Saint did not meet my expectations.

 

Ulrike Hill

2/5

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

The Wrath of Angels

by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton) R180, ISBN: 978-1-444756456

 

 

Harlan Vetter is dying and he has a secret to tell.

 

His home is on the edge of the Great North Woods. In the depth of these woods lies the wreckage of an aeroplane. The wreckage contains something more important than the bag of money taken by Harlan. He found a list with names; names of people who had sold their soul for power, money and prestige. The wreckage still lies undiscovered, its secrets obscured by the forest. The pilot has escaped. How? Where is he? There are people who want the list to remain hidden.

 

Private detective, Charlie Parker’s name is on that list and he wants to know why. Parker wants to find the secret behind the list but finds his investigation hampered by murders. The murders seem to be connected to a beautiful yet scarred woman and a silent child. A serial killer known as The Collector creates further complications for Parker’s investigation.

 

This is not a quick read. The reader gets an insight to the cursed and the ambitious. Connolly reveals the vulnerabilities of the greed of man and the forces of evil who feed on these vulnerabilities.

 

A thrilling book with an interesting cast. The suspense will keep the reader guessing until the end.

 

Ulrike Hill

3/5

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

Aleph

by Paulo Coelho (Harper Collins) ISBN: 978-0-00-7435551-7

 

The popular writer of spiritual books is not happy. A conversation with J, his mystic mentor, does not help him with his frustration. Paulo Coelho decides to embark on a journey to reconnect with his fans, much to his publishers’ dismay. They will need to accompany him on a train journey. Not just any train. He chooses the Trans-Siberian Railway, one of the longest railways in the world.

 

A young woman, Hilal insists on accompanying him. She is a talented musician who claims that she has to help Coelho with his spiritual journey. He is mildly irritated but realises he cannot stop her. As the journey progresses, and Hilal’s connection to Paulo Coelho’s past life becomes clear, Coelho realises the encounter is not by chance. Hilal was his lover 500 years ago. Her purpose in his present life is to help him discover forgiveness. Hilal helps Coelho to achieve a spiritual awakening that surpasses time and space.

 

The book is jarring. Coelho appears arrogant in certain chapters. I found his journey uncomfortable and not always clear. Perhaps it his ‘out of body and out of this world’ that I could not relate to. Coelho loyal fans will still enjoy the book.

 

Ulrike Hill

2/5

 

Subscribe to our daily writing tips by joining our Facebook page

 


Or by following us on Twitter

Fallen in Love

by Lauren Kate (Random House) ISBN: 978-0-857-53164-3

 

Fallen in Love is a glimpse into the emotions of the characters who are part of Daniel and Luce’s cursed love story.

 

Readers of the Lauren Kate trilogy will know the characters. Miles, Shelby, Arian and Roland have walked alongside Luce and Daniel’s doomed love. The setting in all the stories takes place in medieval England on Valentine’s Day.

 

An Announcer dumps Miles and Shelby in medieval England. Out of place and out of sorts, they have to depend on each other. In their story snapshot, they find that there is an attraction growing between them.

Arian and Roland land up in medieval England as well but find that love is not dependable and can be torture; rather like Daniel and Luce’s love.

Finally, Daniel and Luce come face to face in medieval England. Not surprising, their reincarnated visit shows that their love is strong and everlasting.

 

The stories will make no sense if readers have not read the books from the Fallen series. This book feels like a filler – meant to satisfy the gap before the big meal. It fails dismally and detracts from Daniel and Luce’s tragic love story.

 

I felt lost and disappointed. I wanted to know how Luce would end the curse. Not worth the effort. Perhaps Kate’s next book Rapture will end the ‘torment’.

 

Ulrike Hill

2/5

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

Great South African Teachers

by Jonathan Jansen (Bookstorm and Pan Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-920434-24-3

 

Jonathan Jansen is an educationalist and a realist. Everyone has a disaster story about South Africa’s education system. He is outspoken about the state of South African system.

 

Jansen has compiled these stories as a celebration of the teacher who has made a difference to the lives of their pupils. These teachers show passion about education and their pupils. Each story is an inspiration. Great South African Teachers is a ray of light amidst depressing matric results and unprofessional behaviour of teachers.

 

This book is not a cover-to-cover read. The stories are short and easy to read. Jansen has categorised the teachers into seven categories. For example, the first category: The Subject Artist shows how teachers have influenced the career decision of a learner.

 

The stories reflect the diversity of South African schools: from small schools, rural schools to traditional schools. Readers will recognise the names of many of the schools. Some of these teachers may even be recognisable.

 

Perhaps photographs of teachers or schools could have been included. It would have made the book a little more personal.

 

It is a book worth buying. The royalties of this book will go towards providing bursaries for pre-service student teachers.

 

Ulrike Hill

3/5

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for daily writing tips

To find out about Writers Write - Writing for Business, email news@writerswrite.co.za

Switched

by Amanda Hocking (Tor) ISBN: 978-1-4472-0569-2

 

‘What if your entire world was a lie?’

 

Wendy Everly is no ordinary hero. When she is six, her mother is jailed after she tries to kill her. Wendy is brought up by her much older brother, Matt and her aunt.

 

Wendy is a rebel and is expelled from many schools. She tries hard to conform until she meets the Trylle (pronounced ‘troll’) tracker, Finn. Finn convinces her that she has to run away with him. He wants to take her to her real family.

 

Wendy learns that she has lived a lie when she meets her real mother who is the Queen of Förening. Wendy is the heir to the throne and can never go back to her previous life. This decision is a hard one because no matter what she does her mother, the Queen, disapproves. Her life is made easier having Finn at her side. She finds that she likes him more than a friend…

 

Amanda Hocking is a publishing phenomenon. Switched was initially self-published as an e-book by Hocking after rejections from publishers. After selling a million copies online, her book caught the attention of publishers. The question begs answering: what took them so long? Switched is the first in the Trylle Trilogy.

 

Ulrike Hill

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