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YEI Book Reviews

Posted By Marilynh / March 19, 2021 / 9 Comments

Read the latest book reviews, fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.
Get info on new reads including reviews and biographies. 

PLUS YEI member book reviews!

Book reviews

(If you would like to submit a book review, click here)



The Book of Joy:  Lasting happiness in a changing world

Authors:  His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
with Douglas Abrams

Book of JoyIf wisdom and compassion were gold, The Book of Joy would be too heavy to lift, so rich is it in these two qualities. The book recounts a week that Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent with the Dalai Lama in his home in India. The two have been friends for many years. Their purpose was to talk about how to achieve joy. They were accompanied on this journey by Douglas Abrams, their co-author.

Their daily discussions cover a variety of angles and approaches to joy. These are interspersed with much humour and bantering between the two octogenarians. The wisdom and knowledge stem from two lifetimes of deep spirituality, and it is fascinating to find how the two men’s religious beliefs and practices so often overlap.

The discussions these two have cover the meaning of joy, “the obstacles to joy”, “the eight pillars of joy” and “joy practices”. In other words: What is joy? What holds us back from experiencing joy? What is the basis of joy? How do we attain joy? Douglas Abrams adds scientific information, which grounds what the “wise men” are sharing with us. He presents everything with a light touch, making the book very readable.

The subtitle holds much promise. And the authors certainly deliver. I learnt so much from reading this book, and will definitely re-read it many times.

Book review by YEI member:  Val Bruce


Another Life – Jodie Chapman


Another lifeResponsible, honourable Nick falls in love with passionate Jehovah’s Witness Anna over the course of one hot summer.  When Anna’s strict religion threatens to divide them, she must choose between love and family. But Nick is too scared to fight for Anna, and Anna walks away.  Years later, as Nick’s relationship with his impulsive younger brother, Sal, reaches breaking point, Anna is drawn back into Nick’s life. Will Nick find the courage to ask her to stay, or lose her forever?  Another Life is a coming-of-age novel that gets to the heart of what it means to truly love another.

Review:  About a third of the way into this book, I asked myself “Why am I reading this book?”, but I am always loath to give up on a book I’ve started, so I persevered to the end, although admittedly I did speed-read the last 100 pages.  It began well but the unfolding of the story, which I found vaguely depressing, seemed to take forever.  I found the main characters to be insipid and annoying.  Neither of them seemed to know what they wanted out of life and from each other.  There was just far too much angst.  It took a great many pages for them to figure it out. She seemed to just be dallying with his affections while he was intent on playing Joe Cool and was reluctant to commit – for me it just didn’t work.   The peripheral characters were much more interesting and realistic. The flipping backwards and forwards in time was just confusing.  Not a book I’d recommend.

Book review:  Anonymous!

ISBN: 9780241456927
Recommended Price: R320.00



Prince Philip book coverPHILIP, THE FINAL PORTRAIT – Gyles Brandreth


This is the story of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – the longest-serving consort to the longest-reigning sovereign in British history. It is an extraordinary story, told with unique insight and authority by an author who knew the prince for more than forty years.

Philip – elusive, complex, controversial, challenging, often humorous, sometimes irascible – is the man Elizabeth II once described as her ‘constant strength and guide’. Who was he? What was he really like? What is the truth about those ‘gaffes’ and the rumours of affairs? This is the final portrait of an unexpected and often much-misunderstood figure. It is also the portrait of a remarkable marriage that endured for more than seventy years.

Philip and Elizabeth were both royal by birth, both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, but, in temperament and upbringing, they were two very different people. The Queen’s childhood was loving and secure, the Duke’s was turbulent; his grandfather assassinated, his father arrested, his family exiled, his parents separated when he was only ten. Elizabeth and Philip met as cousins in the 1930s. They married in 1947, aged twenty-one and twenty-six.

Philip: The Final Portrait tells the story of two contrasting lives, assesses the Duke of Edinburgh’s character and achievement, and explores the nature of his relationships with his wife, his children and their families – and with the press and public and those at court who were suspicious of him in the early days. This is a powerful, revealing and, ultimately, moving account of a long life and a remarkable royal partnership.

Available in most bookstores
ISBN:  978 144 476 9609


Secure your retirementSecure your retirement – Bruce Cameron and Wouter Fourie

How to beat the effects of corruption, ratings downgrades and a global pandemic


Pensioners are facing a major fallout from South Africa’s downgrading to junk status and the plummeting of the rand as a result of government corruption. On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic lockdown have hit retirement savings hard, and their effects will continue for a long time.
Secure Your Retirement  unpacks the challenges facing pensioners, and outlines what they can do to improve their situation. The book explains how to avoid the pitfalls that cause pensioners to run out of money. It provides guidance about selecting the right pension products and offers other solutions to guide pensioners to better financial outcomes. It gives advice for women, who are particularly at risk, and it deals with the rising costs of health care and the increasing threat of dementia.
Written by award-winning author Bruce Cameron and leading financial planner Wouter Fourie, and based on research by the country’s largest pension fund administrator, Alexander Forbes, as well as life companies Just SA and Sanlam, this book is essential for anyone concerned about their financial future in this worrying time.
ISBN: 9781776095841
Recommended Price: R200.00

While Paris sleptWhile Paris slept – Ruth Druart

I have an absolute passion for books set in World War 2.  This did not disappoint.  It was a very believable, fascinating plot with down-to-earth believable characters and make sure you have the tissues at hand – it is a book that will move you to tears.  The start of the story is set in occupied Paris.   It is the story of an act of desperation when a young woman entrusts her most treasured possession to a stranger as she is about to be herded on a train to Auschwitz.  Jean-Luc is that stranger.  This is an unforgettable, most moving story of resistance and faith during a very dark time in our history.    Jean-Luc thinks he is doing the right thing by embarking on a terrifing journey to freedom, and once he thinks he has left it all behind, the past comes knocking on his door.  An emotional story about selfless love and terrible, heartbreaking cruelty.  The story is told from alternating perspectives and explores the strength of family ties and what it means to love someone unconditionally.  This novel will capture your heart.


Book review:  Marilyn Hallett

ISBN:  9781472267986
Recommended price:  R335

Ancient RemediesAncient Remedies – Dr Josh Axe

Secrets to Healing with Herbs, Essential Oils, CBD, and the Most Powerful Natural Medicine in History

This is the most fascinating book I have read in a while. Ancient Remedies is the first comprehensive guide to holistic remedies and an absolute must-read for those interested in a natural path to wellness.  If you are on several or even one or two prescription medications, and you are seeking an alternative to taking this kind of medication, then this book has all the answers.  Dr Josh Axe goes into great detail about ancient treatments used for centuries in traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Greek medicine.   As Dr Mehmet Oz says “In Ancient Remedies, Dr. Axe teaches readers how to harness medicinal herbs, mushrooms, essential oils, and powerful mind-body practices to heal your body from the inside out. Readers will discover how to use ancient treatments to cope with dozens of conditions and will come back to this book time and time again as they continue to dive deeper into their natural wellness journeys.”  A book to sit at your bedside, to dip into time and time again.

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett


Dont turn around

Don’t Turn Around  by Jessica Barry

The brilliant new thriller from Jessica Barry, author of highly acclaimed Look For Me.

This book is a great read and I would thoroughly recommend it.

It is a complex psychological thriller, the suspense is built well as the story is gradually revealed.  The subject matter is ingenious and very topical and although quite feminist in scope, it would also appeal to male readers.  The chapters are short and the story moves along at a cracking pace.  I was sorry when it came to an end as it was a gripping novel and kept me riveted.

Characterisation is good and the storyline clear.   The only (slight) misgiving I have is that so much happens during a relatively short car trip, I would have imagined that the trip would take much longer and would have had it starting earlier, but that is just a personal thought, it doesn’t affect the story.

I would be very surprised if this is not made into a movie. 


Book review:  Maureen Lawrence

ISBN: 9781787301122
Recommended Price: R320.00

Invisible GirlInvisible Girl by Lisa Jewell


This book is an absorbing psychological thriller which takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions.   I was absorbed from beginning to end.

The book is set in north London and Hampstead.   The atmosphere and ‘feel’ of the area are eloquently captured.

There are twists and turns in the story – just as I was sure I finally knew who the perpetrator of various incidents was, the story takes yet another turn, making me think it had to be another character.   The plot is tight and moves along well, the characterisation is excellent and the ending is quite brilliant.

I would highly recommend this book but be warned … you will be reading way past bedtime.


Book review:  Maureen Lawrence

ISBN: 9781780899237
Recommended Price: R320.00

MonogamyMonogamy – by Sue Miller 

While this novel started quite slowly and I did initially wonder where it was going – it picked up pace quite early and I then became totally engrossed.  

It is a very clever exposition of what goes into making a lasting marriage and all the attendant rollercoasters of emotions and events.  It is also about secrets and love and the nature of betrayal.  The main character, Annie, is very skilfully drawn, as are all the others and their relationships with each other.    I came to feel that I would really like to get to know her and be one of her friends.  The writing is very elegant and assured and the details of her home, neighbours, family and friends are vividly portrayed.

Parts of the novel are devastatingly sad, but the book ends on a positive and forward-looking note.

I was thinking of Annie and her reactions to events long after finishing this intelligent, thoughtful read and will long remember this book.


Book review: Maureen Lawrence



Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult

It has been a few years since I have read a book by this author, and I had almost forgotten what an excellent writer she is.  This is a book about prejudice and power and the very topical subject of racism.

As with all her books, the story is clearly and masterfully told and my attention was gripped from beginning to end.  The characters, and what made them become the people they are, are skilfully drawn and the research is excellent.    At times I was utterly saddened and surprised by the extent of the racism, and accompanying hatred, which is very much alive and flourishing in the USA, but I never felt that it was being used over-dramatically and it was presented in a balanced and informative manner.  It is thought-provoking and certainly raised my awareness of how much I take for granted and how others can battle for the same things.

There are twists in the story which almost left me gasping.  Although parts of it are gut-wrenchingly sad and quite harrowing, it ends on a positive and hopeful note.

I highly recommend this book and only wish it could be made compulsory reading.


Book review: Maureen Lawrence

ISBN: 10 0425286029| RRP: R320.00

To purchase this book, Click here



The West Coast  From Melkbos to the Orange River – LEON NELL

The West Coast Leon Nell’s sixth book to explore another captivating part of South Africa reveals a bounty of treasures that give the West Coast, or Weskus as locals call it, its particular allure.  

Beginning at Melkbosstrand just north of Cape Town, and ending where the Orange River meets the Atlantic Ocean, the book divides the coastal stretch into four discrete and easily explored regions: South, Central, North, and Diamond Coast.  Coastal and inland towns are described, together with their main attractions, offering glimpses into early human history, local culture and traditions, nature and wildlife, and modern-day economic pursuits.

Framed by the Atlantic in the west and the winding N7 highway in the east, the West Coast is a place of varied landscapes and vast contrasts: from moody and at times tempestuous seas and windswept beaches, to verdant vineyards and kaleidoscopic swathes of wildflowers in spring. Wild yet tranquil, playful yet contemplative, dramatic yet understated – its eclectic offering beckons residents and travellers alike.

Leon Nell was born in Zambia and worked most of his life in nature conservation, hospitality and tourism in Namibia and South Africa. Accounts of his travels in southern Africa, mostly off the beaten track, have been published widely.  With five other travel books under his belt, this one on the West Coast came naturally to him after he settled there seven years ago. He comprehensively researched the history of the area and rubbed shoulders with locals, old timers, fisherfolk and farmers to gain further insights.

ISBN: 9781775847021 |RRP: R300.00

This book can be purchased at the following online stores:



Last Days of John LennonThe Last Days of John Lennon
Author:  James Patterson with Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge

I used to be a James Patterson fan, fell out of love with him when his books seemed to follow a very “samey” formula, but having read a few recent James Patterson books of late, have fallen in love with him again.  The research in this latest book appears to be extremely thorough.  This book is the incredible story of John Lennon’s life and career, from his earliest days up to his last seconds. It tells the story of the most profound rock-and-roll genius of all time – and of the consummate Nowhere Man who took him from us.  I was intrigued to read about John Lennon’s post-Beatles life – which I knew very little about.  And I knew even less about Mark David Chapman who was completely obsessed with murdering his favourite but former hero.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the exclusive interviews with John Lennon’s family, friends and associates, including Paul McCartney.  I highly recommend this true-crime drama about two men who changed the history of the music world.

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett, YEI
ISBN : 9781529125207
Recommended Price : R350.00


Nigella Lawson cookbookCook, eat, repeat
Cook, eat, repeat
Cook, eat, repeat
Cook, eat, repeat
Cook, eat, repeat

Ingredients, Recipes and Stories 

Nigella Lawson


There are so many recipe books available, all brightly coloured and tempting with extraordinary dishes, but when you try to make the recipe you find that the recipes assume that one has the expertise of a chef or ingredients are impossible to find or the tools required are beyond the realm of an amateur’s kitchen. 

This recipe book by Nigella Lawson is refreshingly different.   The recipes are for food that can be cooked in your kitchen with ingredients that are available.  Nigella explains in fine detail, but in simple terms how to set about cooking the dishes.

Recipe books, in general, are good to page through and look for inspiration or an interesting dish for a special occasion.  Cook, eat, repeat is a book to read from the start to end.  Nigella pens her thoughts, advice, history of the recipes and useful tips in such an engaging way.  Reading this book is like sitting in the kitchen chatting to your favourite Aunt as she busies herself preparing the evening meal. 

The chapter headings prepare you for the recipes to follow.  “Pleasures” or “”A loving defence of brown food” or “Much depends on dinner” – who wouldn’t want to read, browse, absorb and enjoy sections like this!   Dishes like Norwegian Pork Ribs, Wide Noodles with Lamb Shank in Aromatic Broth and Vegan Lemon Polenta Cake are mouth-watering.

In a nutshell, Cook, Eat, Repeat  is a delicious and delightful combination of recipes intertwined with narrative essays about food, all written in Nigella’s engaging and insightful prose.

This is definitely a recipe book to add to your collection and use often. Highly recommended.


Book review:  Elred Lawrence


ISBN : 9781784743666
Recommended Price : R620.00


Finding Freedom – Harry and Meghan
Authors:  Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

Finding FreedomAdmittedly, I am a royalist, always have been and always will be.  The story of Harry and Meghan has always fascinated me and at times disappointed me, but I have always wondered – what really went down.  This book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s life together, reveals why they chose to pursue the independent path that they did, and the reasons behind their quick, very hasty decision to step back from their privileged royal lives.  This story has always captured the world’s attention, and this book dispels the hundreds of rumours and misconceptions that have plagued this couple on both sides of the pond.  I absolutely loved reading this book and I hope that the authors who apparently come from a select group of reporters that have witnessed this young couple’s life together is accurate and honest – I really would like it to be!

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett, YEI

ISBN:  9780008424114
Recommended price: R330


The End of Her
Author:  Shari Lapena

The end of herWow!  What a good read!    If you are looking for suburban paranoia, a masterful whodunnit and need a book that will keep you mesmerised and away from your chores, then don’t miss this one!   It’s a nail-biter from start to finish.  Stephanie and Patrick have new-born twins.  Stephanie is struggling with all of the things that new mothers and new-borns bring to the party.  Sleep deprivation – the worst!  A woman from Patrick’s past arrives on the scene and and makes a horrifying allegation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder. He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?  If this has intrigued you, then really, get the book! 

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett, YEI

ISBN:  9781787633001
Recommended price: R320.00
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Eat Your Way Slim & Healthy
Author:  Bridget Davis

Eat your way slimAs I am on a sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free regime, I was most interested to see what this book had to offer.  Bridget’s recipes are designed to heal your gut, but also to be cost-effective and delicious.  This kind of regime is supposed to do away with bloating, tiredness, mood swings and brain fog, and of course assists your waistline.  The author states: “I am reminded daily that health is wealth, so I feel like the richest person on earth. I want to help you feel this good …  When I switched to sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free eating, my transformation was radical. I was in my forties, a wife and mother, and I lost 25kgs in just over 4 months with zero exercise and fell in love with life again. As a chef with over twenty years’ experience, creating healthy recipes packed with deliciousness and flavour is my priority. I swap out all processed foods, dairy, sugar and gluten for fresh, healthier ingredients to create delicious recipes for every meal of the day.  Join me on my journey and live your healthiest life, starting today.”  Great recipe book – some interesting ideas.  Easy-to-follow recipes.

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett, YEI

ISBN:  9781911668138
Recommended price: R330.00
Click here to buy online



Three Women Disappear
Author:  James Patterson with Shan Serafin


Three women disappearThree women are on the run, wanted for the murder of a high-ranking mobster in this stunning new stand-alone from the world’s bestselling thriller writer James Patterson. Mob accountant Anthony Costello has a talent for manipulating both numbers and people. When he’s found murdered in his own home, the three people who had most reason to want him dead are missing.  Sarah, his personal chef, Anna, his wife and Serena, his maid.  Detective Sean Walsh, whose personal connection to the case makes his desire to solve it even stronger, is short on leads to track down the three missing women. But even if he finds them alive, can they be trusted?

ISBN:  9781780899510
Recommended price: R320.00
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Author:  Lesley Pearse

LiarLesley Pearse is a brilliant storyteller – it’s always a real treat to read the latest novel from this great author, and Liar is no exception.  The story is well plotted with enough going on and some twists to keep my attention. I like that it was set in the 70’s, a nice change from my usual books. Amelia White dreams of being a reporter. The closest she’s come is selling advertising in the local paper – until the fateful day she stumbles on a shocking scoop. Round the corner from her home, she discovers the body of a murder victim, dumped among the rubbish. When the police and reporters descend, Amelia is horrified at the lies soon to be spread about the young woman. Determined to protect the victim from these smears, she convinces her paper’s editor to let her tell the true story. And when another body is found, Amelia discovers that she may be the only one with any chance of learning the truth and stopping more killings.  If only she can work out who the liar is…

Book review:  Marilyn Hallett, YEI

ISBN:  9780241426616
Recommended price: R320.00
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I see a lion
Author:  Elaine Macdonald


I see a lionI See a Lion  tells the tale of a lion who is wearing woolly socks. When the rest of the lion family appears, all of them are dressed for winter, in hats, scarves and mittens. When asked why, Lion replies that winter is coming, and he doesn’t want his family to catch a cold. Soon the other animals are also wearing warm clothing. But where are the items coming from? It doesn’t take long before they realise that Spider is using her spinning skills to make sure they all stay warm and cosy for the winter.

The review was in fact done by the Editor’s 3-year old grandson, who lives in Amsterdam, but was in South Africa on a holiday over Christmas.  The review was quite simply “That’s why lions live in Africa, Granny, because it’s too cold in Amsterdam!  And I liked the spider, he was very kind to the lions!”.

So there you have it, out of the mouths of babes!

ISBN : 9781432310820
Recommended Price: R100.00
Book review by Marilyn Hallett, YEI Editor

Roald Dahl: Revolting Things to Touch and Feel
Quentin Blake (Illustrator)


Roald DahlAll children love to explore revolting things and there are plenty to touch and feel in this board book. And my grandchildren are no different.  The revolting things range from squishy rotten eggs to lumpy, bumpy crocodiles and even a bushy, bristly beard, full of yucky food! There is a scratchy giant’s foot and a slippery slithering snail.  And the mirror at the end shows the young reader the most revolting and disgusting thing of all.  You’ll have to buy it for that small person in your life to find out how the book ends! 

ISBN: 9780241373415
Recommended Price : R190.00
Book review:  YEI


Peppa Pig goes dancing

Peppa goes dancingMy eldest son grandson, now aged 5, has been a Peppa Pig fan for a couple of years, ever since he was taken to the live Peppa Pig show pre-pandemic times.  He loved this book!    It’s all about Mr Potato’s Super Fantastic Dance Competition!  Peppa, Suzy Sheep, Mandy Mouse and Rebecca Rabbit can’t wait to perform their dance. Will they win a prize? And can Peppa persuade Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig to join in, too?  Peppa and George love dancing. Everyone loves dancing!

ISBN : 9780241411957
Recommended Price : R120.00

The Choice – Edith Eager

ISBN: 9781846045127

The choice

This stirring autobiography of Edith Eger tells the story of her capture and often inhuman suffering in Auschwitz before being liberated near deaths door.

She goes on to become a well known and internationally acclaimed psychologist treating people who have been abused, suffering from PTSD and other mental challenges unable to confront their problems to find real freedom.

She often uses her past experience which makes this read more realistic and thought provoking

Book review by: Michael Abdinor 

This book can be purchased at the following online stores:

The book of Two Ways – Jodi PicoultThe book of two ways

ISBN: 9781473692411| RRP: R320.00

A thrilling adventure . . . With Picoult’s stories, there is always something new to learn, and The Book of Two Ways is no exception. . . . A fun and interesting read, one that will lead readers to both learn a lot and also ask themselves key questions about how to create happy lives for themselves during the short time we have on earth. –  Associated Press

 The Book of Two Ways is a return for Picoult to the themes of her earliest books—motherhood, complicated romantic love. . . . Picoult, at this point in her career, could skillfully build tension in a broom closet, but the best part of this book is not the suspense; it’s the look at the complexity of a woman as she enters middle age. . . . [Picoult] always tells both sides of a story not with judgment, but with grace. –  The Washington Post

Jodi Picoult fans rejoice! . . . The Book of Two Ways is one story you won’t be able to put down. –  CNN

YEI Editor: 
Dawn Edelstein is a death doula – she helps terminally ill patients and their loved ones transition from life to death.  She is married to a physicist and has a teenage daughter. In her “previous life”, she was an Egyptologist – a PhD graduate student living in Egypt and studying archaeology.  She fell in love, at that time with a fellow graduate.  In the opening chapter, Dawn is in a plane crash, and one is immediately drawn into what one thinks is going to be an exciting story.  Dawn miraculously survives the crash, but gets her thinking about how her life could have been.  Two side-by-side stories follow where Dawn considers which life she wants to lead – her present life or the life that could have been. The personal stories makes this a fascinating and moreish read.  However, the many timelines woven through the novel do make it a little difficult to follow, and the stories of ancient Egypt, quantum physics, and death make this, at times, a heavy read.  All in all, my suggestion would be to persevere through the heavy bits as readers can learn a lot about the big and key questions in life.

To purchase this book, Click here

Africas Wild DogsAfrica’s Wild Dogs – A Survival Story

ISBN: 9781913159191 | RRP: R520.00

If you are a wildlife lover, then you will absolutely LOVE this stunning book.  With the festive season coming up, this beautiful coffee table book will make the ideal gift for a family member or friend who has a passion for the bush. 

Africa’s Wild Dogs – A Survival Story is a large-format photographic celebration of one of the continent’s most charismatic and endangered predators. With only about 6,600 wild dogs left in Africa today, wildlife photographer Jocelin Kagan has made it her mission to bring the extraordinary lives of these often misunderstood and maligned animals into the spotlight.

Her remarkable images of rarely seen interactions between the animals and her personal observations are supported by the insights of an array of scientific experts – their contributions discuss the fascinating behaviour and pack dynamics of these efficient hunters.

Nomadic predators whose territories range thousands of kilometres, wild dogs hunt co-operatively, preying on small herbivores. They are non-confrontational, smart and sociable, and form complex and close family bonds, as this fascinating book reveals. Now restricted to small populations and threatened by human persecution, diseases, habitat fragmentation, climate change and natural predation, the conservation of these dogs will be supported by the royalties earned from the sale of this book.

South African wildlife photographer Jocelin Kagan holds a Henley Management College MBA, is an educator and public speaker, and the author of four books. She is a passionate advocate for wild dogs and has been tracking and photographing them since 2015. She has also been involved in international campaigns to raise funds for their conservation.

To purchase this book, Click here


The Summer House
James Patterson and Brendan DuBois

YEI Editor review:
Summer HouseThe Summer House by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois is unputdownable!  There is absolutely no doubt that James Patterson has picked up the pace of late and is publishing great thrillers – much improved on his first books.  As Jeffrey Deaver says “It is no mystery why James Patterson is the worlds’s most popular thriller writer – simply put, no-one does it better”. Four Army Rangers, recently returned from Afghanistan are charged with a brutal crime in rural Georgia.  Although the crime at the Summer House is being investigated by police, the army sends Major Jeremiah Cook a war veteran and former NYPD detective, to investigate.  The case seems pretty open and shut, but on investigation Major Cook and his team get a sense that all is not as it seems and that this crime is somehow linked to something that happened to the 4 Marines back in Afghanistan. With the local police department blocking them at every turn, and the lives of the 4 men in increasing danger, Cook’s team race against time to uncover the truth.  An excellent thriller that you won’t be able to put down.

To purchase this book, click here


SASOL Birds of Southern Africa


Sasol Birds of Southern Africa

Authors:  Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboton, Niall Perrins, Dominic Rollinson & Peter Ryan

ISBN: Softcover 9781775846680

What a superb new edition!  Written by top birders, this authoritative and comprehensive identification guide is invaluable to all birders.

Now in its fifth edition, Sasol Birds of Southern Africa has been brought fully up to date by its expert author panel, with additional contributions from two new bird experts. Greatly enhanced, this comprehensive, best-selling guide is sure to maintain its place as one of Africa’s most trusted field guides.

The book includes:

  • More than 800 new illustrations
  • Scan-and-play bird-call feature using free
               downloadable app
  • Fully revised text, maps and plate annotations
  • Latest species records
  • Comprehensive coverage of the region’s birds

To purchase this book or contact the publishers, Click here

Jane’s Delicious A-Z of Herbs by Jane Griffiths

Janes delicious A-Z of herbs

ISBN: 9781928363118

Herbs are rewarding and versatile plants.

They are easy to grow and add colour, texture and fragrance to our gardens and food.

Jane’s Delicious A-Z of Herbs is a full colour, richly illustrated, hands-on guide to growing and using these productive plants.

With a detailed and richly illustrated A-Z reference of 80 plus herbs, the book covers planting and growing, medicinal and culinary uses, as well as their many healing properties.

To purchase this book or contact the publishers, Click here


Call of the Raven – Wilbur Smith and Corban Addison

ISBN: 978-1-785767-794-4

‘The right of the cat over the mouse, of the strong over the weak. The natural law of existence.’ call the raven Wilbur SmithMungo St John, A Falcon Flies

The son of a wealthy plantation owner and a doting mother, Mungo St John is accustomed to the wealth and luxuries his privilege has afforded him. That is until he returns from university to discover his family ruined, his inheritance stolen and his childhood sweetheart, Camilla, taken by the conniving Chester Marion. Fuelled by anger, and love, Mungo swears vengeance and devotes his life to saving Camilla – and destroying Chester.

Camilla, trapped in New Orleans, powerless to her position as a kept slave and suffering at the hands of Chester’s brutish behaviour, must learn to do whatever it takes to survive.

As Mungo battles his own fate and misfortune to achieve the revenge that drives him, and regain his power in the world, he must question what it takes for a man to survive when he has nothing, and what he is willing to do in order to get what he wants.

An action-packed and gripping adventure by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith, about one man’s quest for revenge, the brutality of slavery in America and the imbalance between humans that can drive – or defeat – us.

Click here for an extract of this book

To purchase this book or contact the publishers, Click here

Grown Ups – Marian Keyes

ISBN: 978-0-71817-975-5

I must admit I was slightly intimidated by the shear size of this book, thinking that no-one could hold my attention for that long. Well I was wrong, the Casey family, brothers Johnny, Ed, Liam and their families held my attention. I love the way Marian deals with serious issues in a funny yet compelling and compassionate way. What a lovely read.

About Grown UpsGrown ups

A brand-new book from the #1 bestselling author of The Break and The Woman Who Stole My Life.

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together–birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie–who has the most money–insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Still, everything manages to stay under control–that is, until Ed’s wife, Cara, gets a concussion and can’t keep her thoughts or opinions to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, and Cara starts spilling all their secrets.

As everything unravels, each of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s–finally–the time to grow up.


Saving the last Rhinos – The life of a frontline Conservationist

ISBN: 978-1-47214-252-8

The remarkable story of the white Zulu, Grant Fowlds, a conservationist who has dedicated his life to saving Saving the last rhinosthe last rhinos, vividly told with the help of Graham Spence, co-author of the bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.  This is a truly great read and a must for all those whose hearts lie in the African bush and who have an affinity to wildlife conservation.

What would drive a man to ‘smuggle’ rhino horn back into Africa at great risk to himself? This is just one of the situations the brave and committed Grant Fowlds has put himself in as part of his ongoing fight against poaching, in order to prove a link between southern Africa and the illicit, lucrative trade in rhino horn in Vietnam.

Growing up on a farm in the eastern Cape of South Africa, Grant developed a deep love of nature, turning his back on hunting to focus on saving wildlife of all kinds and the environment that sustains both them and us. He is a passionate conservationist who puts himself on the front line of protecting rhinos in the wild – right now, against armed poachers; but in the longer term, too, through his work with schoolchildren, communities and policymakers.

In 2016 the number of rhinos poached in South Africa stood at 1054 (Department of Environmental Affairs).  In 2017, 529 rhinos had been slaughtered by 24th July. In the last nine years, over 6100 rhinos have been poached in South Africa leaving fewer than 19000 white, and 2000 black rhinos in the country.  The situation is critical.

Review: Angela Watkins

Website: www.penguinrandomhouse.com  



Quick ID Guide: Wild Flowers Of The Cape Peninsula – Hugh Clarke & Corrine Merry

ISBN: 978-1-77584-640-6Wild flowers

The colour coding is a brilliant idea and the info in the description has enough to satisfy the amateur as well as the professional. the pictures are clear and colour accurate. so glad the geographical reach of the book has expanded.

“Written with the non-specialist in mind, this guide is a must-have for flower lovers, hikers, tour guides and tourists – anyone interested in identifying the wild flowers that grace the Cape Peninsula. Quick ID Guide: Wild Flowers of the Cape Peninsula covers the most remarkable and commonly seen wild flowers of Table Mountain, Silvermine and Cape Point. The book was originally published as Common Wild Flowers of Table Mountain in 2007, then revised in 2013 to include the flowers of Silvermine.

This new edition offers:

– 360 (previously 208) of the region’s most remarkable and commonly seen wild flowers

– Clear photographs of all featured flowers and concise, informative text

– Flowers grouped according to colour, to help with quick ID

– Walking routes in the Peninsula’s famed reserves, plotted on 3 clear maps.

– Illustrated glossary of terms”

Review: Anthony Watkins (NDH)


Wildlife in Namibia A Photographic Guide – NIKOS PETROU & NEIL MACLEOD

ISBN: 978-1-77584-662-8 |RRP: R250.00Wildlife in Namibia

Having lived in Namibia for many years, I eagerly picked up this book as reminder of those days. I wish it had been published then as it would have been well used in my travels through the country. the easy to follow index and colour photos are an absolute gem. I would recommend this book if you are planning on visiting this amazing country or even as a book to browse through on those lazy days.

“Namibia is a fascinating land of contrasts, where floodplains, swamps and the world’s oldest desert have contributed to a rich biodiversity. Wildlife of Namibia is an easy-to-use guide to the country’s most conspicuous and interesting mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates and plants.

The book includes:

  • An informative introduction to the country’s geography, climate and vegetation
  • Accounts describing each species’ appearance, habits, size and conservation status, as well as information on habitat and best viewing localities
  • Full-colour photographs of each species, along with distribution maps to show their range.

This all-in-one compact guide will prove invaluable to visitors to national parks, nature reserves and other wildlife-rich places in Namibia.

Nikos Petrou is a wildlife photographer and author, and is very active in nature conservation. He has written or co-authored 15 books, including An Expert’s Guide to Finding the Animals in Etosha, and has produced numerous articles on wildlife and environmental issues.

Neil MacLeod, founder of SafariWise, is a safari guide who specialises in birdwatching and photography. He has extensive and intimate knowledge of Namibia’s flora, fauna and habitats, and of the best locations to find wildlife. He is co-author of An Expert’s Guide to Finding the Animals in Etosha.”

Also available in German as: Wilde Natur in Namibia

Website:  www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za

Review: Angela Watkins

The Next Step
– Personal & Family Information ebook

The Next Step

A useful personal information document which will assist you to help keep track of you and your family’s personal details as well as your financial situation. The purpose of this document is reducing the stress of your family and beneficiaries when your estate has to be wound up. In some sections, it will assist to keep an effective record of any documents which fall form renewal.

Examples being driver’s license, passports etc. In the event of a serious accident, illness or death, all vital information is recorded accurately and comprehensively in one place, which will avoid unnecessary time spent in trying to trace these important documents.

RRP: R40.00 | Click here to order

The Last Widow – Karin Slaughter

ISBN: 978-0-00-830339-6

I could not put this book down and spent my weekend in bed reading. I read a lot (in fact my friends say I absorb Last Widowthem) and its rare for me to get so excited about a book. This book, the latest in a series by Karin Slaughter kept me absorbed. Most of the characters were familiar to me, having read all her other books and I enjoyed being part of their continued journey

A mysterious kidnapping
On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. Vanished into thin air, the authorities are desperate to save the doctor.

A devastating explosion
One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhood’s has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy
Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massacre—putting his own life on the line for the woman and the country he loves.”

Review: Angela Watkins

Shadow Flicker – Melissa A.Volker

ISBN: 978-0-6399942-0-8

I am already a huge fan of Melissa’s writing having enjoyed “A Fractured Land’ enormously (review below) but this Shadow Flickerlatest offering has taken my “fandom” to a new level. I loved the Eco theme (which is something that runs through all her books and articles) but what really caught my attention was the vulnerability of Kate Petersen who suffers from Panic attacks and the strength she shows that helps her to live life to the fullest despite them.

“Kate Petersen keeps her panic attacks to herself, until the day she experiences one in front of her boss. With her personal life in ruins, her job is all she’s got. When an important renewable energy assignment in an Eastern Cape surfing village comes up, she is allowed to take over only if she promises to get her anxiety under control. She decides not to tell her boss that he is sending her to the very place where all her troubles began with a tragedy which continues to haunt her.

Determined to put the past behind her, she arrives in St Francis Bay ready to placate environmental opposition to her employer’s planned wind farm. Trouble brews when she begins to fall for Matthew Sykes, the attentive vet and surfer who is still grieving the death of his wife.

Meanwhile, the parochial locals escalate their protests, from peaceful resistance to creepy threats, and Kate is forced to confront her worst fears as well as risk exposing her fragile state of mind to Matthew and her client.

Then the violence intensifies and Matthew turns out to have a few secrets of his own. Kate understands that their growing relationship and her job are at stake, but she doesn’t know that her life is also in danger.”

Review: Angela Watkins


We are going to Kruger National Park – Liza M Roux

ISBN: 978-0-620-83819-1 | RRP: R120

Have your children enjoy the wild in the comfort of their imaginations with this beautifully illustrated wildlife We Are Going To Kruger National Parkconservation storybook by author Liza Roux and artist Alex van Houwelingen.  We Are Going to Kruger National Park is the interesting story of a family going on holiday in the Kruger National Park. The lovely illustrations capture much-loved family traditions and the story includes underlying conservation-themed messages to provoke young minds.




A Fractured Land – Melissa A.Volker

ISBN: 978 0 6399942 1 5

I think as South Africans we tend to judge local authors too critically.  We sometimes think that they are not as good asA fractured land by Melissa volker international writers, I certainly have done so in the past…. And its definitely in the past now, because this book was a brilliant read and will pass muster in comparison to any internationally written book.

Melissa weaves her story well around her characters and creates a beautiful story of romance  infused with intrigue and crime.  The story is so well described that I could imagine myself walking down those dusty Graaff-Reinet roads.

But what will linger in my memory other than the story of Lexi and Carter and that small town, is my new awareness of the impact that fracking has on the ecology/economy of not only a small town, but on all of us. Melissa has created a great awareness in myself about my place and impact in the fragile world in which we live.

I am waiting in anticipation for her next book “Shadow Flicker”

Review: A.Watkins


The Cutting Edge – Jeffery Deaver

ISBN: 978 1 473 61874 9

a cutting edge Jeffrey Deaver

Another brilliant read by Jeffery Deaver who can always be counted on to deliver a well written crime thriller. We are once again drawn into the world of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs who are now married. When reading his books, nothing is as it seems and this book follows that trend. a really good read with several twists woven in.

Review: A.Watkins

Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

ISBN: 978 0 8575 2443 0 | RRP: R 295.00

This is, without doubt, one of the most eagerly awaited novels this year.   Paula Hawkins’ previous best-seller,  The Girl on the Train, sold a staggering 15 million copies, and was turned into a suspense-filled movie.   It was a hard act to follow.    Into the Water was very different, even though the writing was of the same quality and the book carried similar expectation and mystery.  Paula Hawkins brilliantly weaves her complex characters into an intriguing read – although this is not particularly groundbreaking stuff, with a story being told from multiple viewpoints, with possibly too many characters, and sometimes being a trifle difficult to make sense of it all.   Nevertheless, a moody and chilling thriller that will have you see you reading the book to the end.

Review:  YEI staff member

Fifty Fifty – James Patterson and Candice Fox

ISBN:  9781780897127  | RRP:  R295.00

Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox is the second novel featuring Detective Harriet Blue. The first novel in the series was Never Never. 

The world’s bestselling thriller writer James Patterson once again joins forces with award-winning crime writer Candice Fox for a compulsive page-turner in the Australian outback.

 I have to admit that I had stopped reading James Pattersons books.  They were becoming very “samey”  and I had the impression that his books were becoming a type of “cut and paste” novel. However, I decided to give it a “go” and the result was I stayed up until 3am to read to the finish.  I  loved this book and literally could not put it down.  The main character, Sam Blue is quite compelling.  She is strong and capable but very damaged which makes for a very complex and enjoyable character.  I also enjoyed the fact that the book was not set in the United States.  Having never visited Australia I do not know how accurate the book was in describing the lives of people in the Outback, but it all really rang true. Once finished I immediately got hold of the first book in the series, Never Never, and have now read that as well. I am really looking forward to the next in what I hope is a series.  All in all, A really good read.

Review by Angela Watkins


Dead To Me –  Lesley Pearse

03 May 17  |  ISBN 9781405921046  |  PB Release

What an awesome read!  This is essentially a story of friendship, with all its ups and downs.  It’s a story of  the  trials and tribulations of two very different girls.  The story is set at the start of the second world war.  When Ruby and Verity met as girls, they came from different worlds. Verity was privately educated, living in a beautiful Hampstead home, while Ruby was being raised in extreme poverty. Nevertheless, they became firm friends.  They then experience changes in fortune and find that their situations are reversed.  As Ruby goes up in the world, Verity encounters more and more tragedy, but still the girls remain a large part of each other’s lives. That is, until one day in 1938 when Ruby says the terrible words ‘You’re dead to me’ and it looks like their friendship might be over for good…  I won’t tell you the end of the story, but what wins in the end is something you cannot buy.

I have now become a Lesley Pearse fan, and am definitely going to go out and get other books written by this spinner of tales.

Review:  Angela Watkins


A Harvest of Thorns – Corban Addison

9781784295233 | Quercus | TPB | R295

You often read of tragedies that happen on the other side of the world.  A factory fire in a warehouse in India, refugees in Greece, a ferry sinking in Japan.  One wonders, idly, while eating your popcorn in front of the TV what will happen to those people and how they got to where they are. Sometimes we see a picture of a child sprawled on the ground after jumping out of a building or a little body washed up on a beach, but apart from those fleeting thoughts, we do not do much to find out what happened or to help those affected, apart from sometimes putting together a small care package and sending it off.

This book is about those from the other side of the world, caring enough to do something about the injustices connected with the tragedies seen in the News.  It is about a group of people who decide to try and  hold Big Corporation responsible for what happens in their chain of supply. I won’t give any spoilers in this review but I will say that this book is another brilliant novel by Corban Addison

Review:  Angela Watkins

The History of blood – Paul Mendelson

9781472121820 | Jonathan Ball Publishers | R195

One look at the book and you see that it is set in South Africa, set against the richly described backdrop of Cape Town. I was, however, not expecting such international quality writing. This book introduced us to South Africa in the here and now, and moved seamlessly between current South Africa, and South Africa in the middle of the apartheid years.

Paul Mendelson takes the history of those times and weaves it into a modern day crime story without making comment on the politics of those times or present-day politics. Even if you were not aware of what was happening in South Africa, you will still be able to enjoy this book.

What a brilliant read. International quality with a local flavour.

This is the third chilling psychological thriller from Paul Mendelson.

Review:  Angela Watkins

Fool Me Once
Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben has become one of my all-time favourite authors in the last few years.  He constantly delivers un-put-downable thrillers that are filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense!  His last nine consecutive novels have all reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as lists around the world.

I do believe that we all have times when we are not in the mood to read – a cardinal sin, I know, but it happens to the best of us.  I have taken a long time to review this book, because I believe that I was in exactly that frame of mind when reading Harlan Coben’s latest page-turning thriller – Fool Me Once.  For me, it did not deliver quite the same page-turning thrill.  And so, I am going to reserve my judgement, and read this book again in the future, when I am in my usual love-reading mode.

In a nutshell, the story is about a former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war.  She spots an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

So there you have it, the recipe for another readable thriller.   Let’s have your views…..

Review:  MH

Published by Dutton
Aug 09, 2016 | 464 Pages | 4-1/4 x 7-1/2 | ISBN 9781101984352

Vuvuzela  Nation – Author:  Zapiro

ZAPIRO_VUVUZELA_NATION_COVIn a country that often takes itself far too seriously, it is refreshing to have a character like Zapiro around to bring us back down to earth.

The satirist and cartoonist has done it again with the release of  ‘Vuvuzela Nation’, a compilation of more than 200 iconic cartoons which poke fun and tell the difficult truths about our heroes on and off the pitch.  These colourful sporting characters include – Louis Luyt, Hansie Cronje, Caster Semenya, Herschelle Gibbs, Benni McCarthy, Bryan Habana, Lucas Radebe, Peter de Villiers and Oscar Pistorius.

Beginning in 1995, Zapiro takes us on a crazy journey through our sporting years since becoming a democracy, all of which is brought forward in his own zany style – resulting in a curious, glorious, calamitous and chaotic story of sport in the New South Africa.

From the Springboks’  1995 World Cup triumph to Kamp Staaldraad, from cricketing chokers to champions and to  Oscar Pistorius’  issues with the law, no sporting event on the field or in private,  escapes Zapiro’s sharp pencil of candour.

The cartoons are accompanied by incisive text and the insatiable wit of journalist Mike Wills.  This coffee table conversation starter ticks all the right boxes for our sports-mad country.

This new title by Jacana provides a comprehensive and entertaining look at our nation’s favourite pastimes.

Review by AH

Title:  Vuvuzela  Nation
Sub-title:  Zapiro on SA Sport 1995-2013
Author:  Zapiro – Text by Mike Wills
ISBN:  9781431401642
RRP:  R175 (price subject to change)
Click here to order directly from the Jacana website at a 20% discount –
Contact person at Jacana: Lanore@jacana.co.za
Or you can buy the book from your nearest book store at the RRP.

Publication date:  May 2013

The Dying Hours – Author:  Mark Billingham

Dying HoursTom Thorne returns in Billingham’s most compelling thriller to date.  The Dying Hours is a haunting portrait of London’s dark heart, and the darker heart of a twisted killer bringing terror to its streets.

Tom Thorne has stepped out of line once too often and now he is back in uniform and hates it!  He is convinced that a cluster of suicides among the elderly is suspicious, and because his concerns are dismissed by the Murder Squad that he used to be part of, he is forced to investigate alone.

Thorne is unable to trust anyone and risks losing those closest to him as well as endangering those being targeted by the killer, who is unlike anyone Thorne has hunted before.  The killer appears to be a man who has the power to make people take their own lives.

I have not read many of Billingham’s books, but this one is fast-paced and a page-turner.  Nothing is quite what it seems, and the chase hots up as Thorne calls in favours from old friends and lies to his partner about what he is really doing while the killer speeds up what appears to be a suicide spree.  An excellent book and a highly recommended read with interesting characterization and complicated plot.

Review by MH

Title:  The Dying Hours
Author:  Mark Billingham
ISBN:  978-1-84744-424-0

My Granny’s Pantry – Author:  Margaret Wasserfall

rox revised cover.inddThis charming memoir-cum-cookbook, written by Margaret Wasserfall, well known as former editor of SA Garden and Home and SA Country Life, tells of the influence of her redoubtable Scottish grandmother who taught her, as she grew up, about food and cooking.

Wasserfall has drawn together the food memories of her childhood when she cooked with her Scottish granny and made trips into town to shop for food.  Life was completely different in those days.  At home, the kitchen cupboard was filled with homemade cakes, biscuits and crunchies for everyone in the household to snack on.   A 25-litre paraffin tin of crayfish cost 2/6d.  Frikkadels were made to stretch the household budget.

The book is fascinating in many regards.  It is a collection of timeless recipes – recipes that you will remember from your childhood.  There are photographs from Wasserfall’s family photo album.  There are beautiful photographs that illustrate the recipes.  Wasserfall’s stories, anecdotes and observations reflect how the family slowly changed their lives and their way of cooking – from strong Scottish roots to a South African way of life.

A nostalgic and enjoyable read, and a book that one will periodically pick up to browse through to find that tried and trusted recipe of yesteryear.

If you live in KwaZulu-Natal, you might be interested going to a “Coffee morning with Margaret Wasserfall” – click here to see the details.

Review by MH

Title:  My Granny’s Pantry
A Kitchen Memoir
Author:  Margaret Wasserfall
ISBN:  978-1-43140293-9
URL:  http://www.jacana.co.za/new-releases/new-releases-6593/my-granny-s-pantry-detail
Orders Contact: Lanore@jacana.co.za
RRP: R260.00
My Granny’s Pantry; A Kitchen Memoir is available at all good stores or at 20% off on the Jacana website.


Sisterland – Author:  Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland pbI have always found the subject of twins fascinating and in her latest book, Curtis Sittenfeld adds a twist to the subject of twins.  The twins, Violet and Daisy (aka Kate) have psychic abilities.

Sisterland is a good read, though strange at times and thought-provoking – the story of family, identity, loyalty and deception.  The twins  know that they are unlike other people and although they were both born with “senses”, Vi embraces her visions and Kate/Daisy tries to hide them.  The story takes place with the twin sisters in their thirties.  Daisy who narrates the story is married with two young children.  Eccentric Vi works as a professional psychic and is an embarrassment to her sister.  Vi predicts that an earthquake will take place in their hometown of St Louis.  The story continues with the days leading up to the predicted earthquake with flashbacks to the twins’ past.

Sittenfeld is a great writer with a talent for creating believable, although not always pleasant, characters.   There is plenty of intrigue and tension to keep your attention.

Review:  MH

ISBN: 9780385618502
RRP:  R265.00
Imprint: Doubleday UK
Available at all good bookstores countrywide

Common Wildflowers of Table Mountain & Silvermine – Authors:  Hugh Clarke, Bruce Mackenzie & Corinne Merry

Common-WildFlowers_TableM&Silvermine_200kb-coverCommon Wild Flowers of Table Mountain has proved to be a valuable guide for flower-lovers, hikers and mountain climbers who wish to know more about the flowers they encounter on their outings. Now expanded to take in the expansive Silvermine reserve, and generally updated for the entire area, this new edition will appeal to an even wider market.

It offers

• Flowers grouped according to colour to enable quick ID
• Some 260 flowers that can be seen along the way
• Clear photographs and concise, informative text for each species.
• A variety of walking routes that crisscross the mountain and reserve, plotted on accompanying route maps

For anyone with an interest in identifying the flowers ofthe mountain and reserve, this will be an indispensable guide.

Principle author Hugh Clarke joined forces with Bruce Mackenzie, who contributed valuable information based on his extensive Table Mountain database, and Dr Corinne Merry, who brought extensive knowledge of the Silvermine area and flower photographs from that area.

All three authors are keen hikers with a passion for the outdoors

ISBN: 978-1-77584-039-8| RRP: R160.00

For more information, visit www.randomstruik.co.za.  Join the Struik Nature Club www.randomstruik.co.za/natureclub

Pocket Guide – Trees of Southern Africa

Trees of Southern AFrica Southern Africa boasts a rich variety of tree species, both indigenous and exotic. Pocket Guide Trees of Southern Africa is an authoritative introduction to the region’s trees, describing and illustrating 132 species. This publication has its origins in Van Wyk’s A Photographic Guide to Trees of Southern Africa and has been fully revised and updated by well-known authority Braam van Wyk. Each species account highlights the key identification features, and also touches on the medicinal and commercial uses of the trees.

This compact, easy-to-use guide makes an ideal travelling companion and will help readers to become more knowledgeable about trees.

Author:  Piet van Wyk, Braam van Wyk
ISBN:  9781920572020
RRP:  R120.00

Pocket Guide – Butterflies of South Africa

Pocket-Guide-ButterfliesWatching and ‘ticking’ butterflies is a rewarding hobby and one that is gaining popularity in South Africa. This handy pocket guide details more than 250 of the region’s 670 species, from the tiniest blues and coppers to enormous swallowtails and emperors. The most commonly encountered butterflies are included, but there are also a few elusive ‘specials’, for those who enjoy a challenge.

The book offers

  • Concise text describing the habits, favoured habitat and early life stages of each butterfly (egg, larva and pupa)
  • Details of seasonal and other variations
  • Similar-looking species and status information
  • Full-colour photographs and distribution maps
  • Colour-coded calendar bars, showing at a glance when a particular butterfly is most abundant.

This handy little guide should prove invaluable to beginners and more experienced butterfly enthusiasts alike.

Steve Woodhall is a butterfly enthusiast and photographer who began watching and collecting butterflies at an early age. He is President of the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa, has contributed to several books, among them Living Butterflies of Southern Africa (Umdaus Press), and is author of Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa and the highly popular What’s that Butterfly? (both Struik Nature). When not chasing butterflies, Steve works as a technical manager in the plastics industry.

Author:  Steve Woodhall
ISBN:  978 1 92057 247 1
RRP:  R120.00
Imprint:   Nature

Sky Guide – Africa South 2014

Astronomical Society of South Africa

Sky-Guide-Africa-South_2014For novice, amateur and professional astronomers, Sky Guide Africa South 2014 is a practical resource covering the upcoming year’s planetary movements, predicted eclipses, meteor showers – any events and facets of the night sky that change annually – as well as star charts for identifying stars and constellations.

There’s a wealth of information about the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, meteors and bright stars, with photos, diagrams, charts and images.

There’s also an excellent list of useful websites. An annual publication, this is an invaluable resource and ‘… an absolute must for first-time star-gazers and professional astronomers alike’.

Struik Nature joins forces with the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa to publish this annual guide. Now in its 64th year of publication, the book is prepared by a team of contributors, all specialists in their fields.

ISBN:   978 1 77584 032 9
RRP:  R110.00

Watching Whales and Dolphins in Southern Africa

Watching-Whales and DolphinsSouthern Africa has some of the best whale and dolphin watching opportunities in the world, with over half of the world’s species being found in our waters.

Watching Whales & Dolphins in Southern Africa is an essential guide to watching the region’s more common species.

In addition to species accounts and charts that aid identification, this guide provides detailed information on cetaceans – their evolution, senses, behaviour, classification and anatomy. Multiple, clear images, both photographic and illustrated, help identify each species by showing how to read the partial signs that cetaceans usually offer, such as a flipper, tail, or even just their ‘blow’.

The book also discusses the tragic toll that hunting has had on whale populations, and the ongoing struggle to protect these majestic mammals. This is an invaluable guide for anyone wishing to know more about whales and dolphins of the region.

Noel Ashton, with a background in environmental and geographical science, has specialised as a whale and dolphin scientific illustrator, developing a complex process of morphological mapping.

Noel and his wife Belinda Ashton have worked towards whale and dolphin conservation through their Oceans of Africa programme. Their acclaimed Sacred Ocean anti-whaling campaign in the Two Oceans Aquarium was launched by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and their IFAW Whale Show is shown daily in the Whale Museum in Hermanus.

Authors:  Noel & Belinda Ashton
ISBN:  978-1-77007-957-1
RRP:  R130.00

Adventure Trails in Kirstenbosch

Adventure-Trails-CoverThese five imaginative trails capture the magic of nature within Kirstenbosch, South Africa’s best-known botanical garden.

Eager young adventurers will have hours of fun discovering prehistoric gems, enchanted forests, secret gardens, mysterious mirror pools and much more.

Each route description is accompanied by a map and beautiful photographs and illustrations, while the text is packed with information about striking and surprising trees, flowers, birds, insects, animals and tidbits from history, as well as descriptions of the best places to play and relax.

This whimsical guide is a must-have companion for any young adventurer setting off into Cape Town’s much-loved garden.

Daphne Mackie has painted the flowers of Africa for as long as she can remember. After marrying a Capetonian in 1964, Daphne discovered the sanctuary that is Kirstenbosch, and her love of nature led to a fulfilling career in art, reproducing the indigenous Cape Flora. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and springer spaniel.

Author:   Daphne Mackie
ISBN:   9781431701193
RRP:  R95.00


The Book of Fate – Author:   Parinoush Saniee”

m_Book of FateFifty years of life in Iran.

I found this book to be very moving and powerful – a stimulating and interesting read, yet at the same time, a good story simply told.  It is the story of Massoumeh, a teenager at the beginning of the book, and her maturing into a woman of grace, charm and intelligence, despite having a very difficult life.

The period covered by the book was one of turmoil in Iran.  The question of whether to be carried along by fate or to persevere and find one’s own way, whilst remaining true to one’s beliefs and loyalties, is the main theme of the book.  To a Western woman, the Persian lifestyle and restrictions pertaining to women seem so antiquated, yet the reader is made to understand why it is necessary to accept life-impacting decisions made on one’s behalf, without any consultation or consideration.  I found it hard occasionally not to be angered by Massoumeh’s seeming indifference to her fate, but particularly towards the end of the book had to admire how she dealt with the various vicissitudes inflicted on her.

The story is told plainly and without self-pity.  It certainly makes one appreciate the freedoms and advantages enjoyed by Western women – in all a thoroughly good read and highly recommended.

Review:  Maureen Lawrence


“The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa

Sasol 4 Larger final cover_1mbThis new larger edition is based on the recently updated fourth edition of the standard-format Sasol Birds of Southern Africa.  The region’s best-selling, most comprehensively illustrated and trusted field guide, it offers:

  • Rewritten species accounts, now with group introductions;
  • Newly designed plates for ease of use and comparison;
  • More than 380 new improved illustrations;
  • Illustrations with simplified labels, pinpointing key differentiating features;
  • Updated distribution maps showing relative abundance and indicating resident or migrant status;
  • Calendar bars showing species’ occurrence and breeding periods, and sonograms depicting the calls of difficult-to-distinguish birds that have distinctive calls;
  • The larger fomat allows for better appreciation and easier use of the plates.


Review by Dave Tye

A beautiful addition to South Africa’s already impressive collection of birding guide books.

The most striking feature is the amazing illustrations.  Where sexual dimorphism occurs, both male and female are clearly shown with distinguishing features described.  For many birds, in-flight views are also illustrated.  In fact, I randomly found one bird with ten different illustrations.

All birds are comprehensively described – distribution maps, seasonal presence, breeding season, size, distinguishing features, habits, call, status and biology are all covered.

As an amateur birder, this is a “must have” addition to my library, but be warned – its size and weight means it will not make an ideal field guide!

Authors:  Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, Warwick Tarboten & Peter Ryan
ISBN:  978 1 77584 099 2
RRP:  R320.00
Imprint:  Struik Nature
To buy the book direct from Exclusive Books, click here.
The book can also be bought from Kalahari/Takealot.com &  Graffiti Books



Pilot in the Wild – Author:  John Bassi

PILOT_IN_THE_WILD_COV.inddJohn Bassi has dedicated most of his life to the plight of wildlife in Africa. Raised in north eastern Zimbabwe, he was inspired by a life of living and working in wilderness areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Learning about the cruel realities of war and human greed, he made a vow to devote his life to protecting nature.

Fuelled by a passion for wilderness and aviation, John embarked on a challenging and fascinating journey through the birth, growth and change of South Africa’s game capture industry. On the flip side, he has been witness to elements that hide commercial exploitation under the guise of conservation and he has seen the degradation of some of South Africa’s pristine wilderness areas; an all too familiar sight echoing the ruin of his beloved Zimbabwe.

Pilot in the Wild takes us into the world of South Africa’s game capture industry and the plight of wildlife in Africa. Packed full of biographical accounts, and information about wildlife, the war on poaching, and flying, makes one grateful to all the people involved in conservation and what they do to help preserve this wonderful place we live in.

For those of you who enjoy wildlife and a bit of adventure this book will tick both those boxes. I found Pilot in the Wild both interesting and captivating.  One to read.

Review by Kyle Cowen, Pilot

ISBN:  978-1-4314-0871-9
RRP:  R225.00  (price subject to change)
Imprint:  Jacana
A Pilot in the Wild is available at all good stores or at 20% off on the Jacana website
Orders Contact:  reception@jacana.co.za
Website:  www.jacana.co.za


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  • Mercia clarke
    July 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Wow! Spent a fantastic 1 hour reviewing your recommendation’s of all the new books. Thanks

  • Eleanor Langley
    September 23, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    After reviewing all the books is there a place where we can buy on line – I wouldn’t mind buying the herb book and knowing its price

    • Marilynh
      September 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm

      Dear Eleanor

      We will investigate this – thanks for the feedback.

      Regards, YEI

      • Angela W
        September 30, 2020 at 1:23 pm

        Dear Eleanor, thank you for your feedback. We will in future be including a link with all of our reviews so that you can purchase the book in question or contact the publishers. Thanks for helping us to make our website better. Regards Angela (YEI team) p.s there is now a link to the publishers of the Herb book so you can purchase it from them

  • Claudia Benade
    November 18, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    I’m hoping to win these books as I’ve never had the privilege of reading any of her books yet.

  • Anne Greening
    February 17, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    How does an author, who is a senior citizen, get a book reviewed on YEI?

    • Angela W
      February 18, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Good day Anne, you can mail us at info@youve-earned-it.co.za and submit a review of the book yourself (with pictures and purchase details). Alternatively most publishers supply us with a copy of the book and one of our staff then read and review the book. Please let us know what you would prefer as we love to support local. Kind regards, Angela

  • Gillian Ashlin
    August 11, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    HI Marilyn Where can I buy the Ancient Remedies by Dr. Josh Axe and West Coast from Melkbos to Orange River. Thank you for a wonderful club to belong to. Always exciting and interresting articles.

    • Marilynh
      August 12, 2021 at 11:16 am

      Hi Gillian

      We have sent your enquiry to the publishers – we will get back to you with their response as soon as we have heard from them.

      Good to hear that you are enjoying YEI and the articles!


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