Book Reviews - August 2010 Part I

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Book Reviews

Blue Skies & Black Olives by John Humphrys and Christopher Humphrys (Hodder & Stoughton)

This travel memoir revolves around John Humphrys’ decision to buy and renovate a dilapidated cottage in Greece. Neither he nor his son, Christopher, was prepared for the numerous frustrations they would face in the process. The novel gives you a unique glimpse into the idiosyncrasies of Grecian life. Blue Skies & Black Olives is a genuinely witty novel that will put a smile on your face.

Eggs to lay, Chickens to Hatch by Chris van Wyk (Picador Africa)

In this sequel to Shirley, Goodness and Mercy! Chris van Wyk recollects his childhood memories, particularly about Agnes, the Zulu woman who used to work for his family. This evocatively written memoir is a touching account of the affectionate relationship that developed between the young Chris and Agnes as they exchanged stories about Riverlea, neighbours, politics, Zulus, people of colour, love and friendship. Told from a child’s perspective, this novel is written with honesty and warmth.

 

Too Many Murders by Colleen McCullough (HarperCollins)

This thrilling novel marks the return of suave homicide detective, Carmine Delmonico. Set in 1960s Connecticut, the plot revolves around multiple murders in a small college town – all within 18 hours! The victims have no apparent connection with one another. Delmonico investigates the murders as the finger of suspicion points to a mysterious person on the FBI watch list. Full of twists and turns, this novel is sure to keep you turning the pages. 

Men – A User’s Guide by Kathy Lette (Bantam Press)

From the bestselling author of To Love, Honour and Betray (Till Divorce Us Do Part), this excruciatingly funny novel offers you insights and advice about men, sex, marriage and divorce, to name just a few! The battle of the sexes gets a new twist as Lette takes on male eccentricities in a tongue-in-cheek manner that sparkles with her trademark wit. This is the book version of girl-talk and yet does not resort to male-bashing.

 

A Serving of Scandal by Prue Leith (Quercus)

Kate McKinnon runs a successful catering business and meets Secretary of State Oliver Stapler while catering lunch for a government office. She falls for him though he is married but does a good job of hiding her feelings. However, an insider – who would like to see Kate fail – alerts the tabloids. Whether or not there is an affair going on, the story is a red-hot seller, with the likelihood of hurting many lives. The fast pace of the novel will have you hooked, while Kate endears herself with her vulnerability and courage.

 

61 Hours by Lee Child (Bantam Press)

Lee Child uses a gripping countdown format for this novel that tells the tale of ex-military man Jack Reacher who is essentially a drifter. When his bus crashes in a fierce storm in South Dakota, Reacher gets involved in much more than just rescue efforts. The complex plot will keep you guessing until the end. The novel is replete with heart-pounding moments and presents a vulnerable protagonist prone to making mistakes, quite a departure from his former military avatar.

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