July Picks

4Knox, Elizabeth (2013)  Mortal Fire.  Gecko Press.   Canny Mochrie is 16 years old, and a little different.  She has a strong mathematical mind, and has always been able to see something Extra. She begrudgingly joins her stepbrother on a mine disaster research trip, and wanders into an enchanted valley, full of children and magic.  The mysteries of the valley and of its hostage, seek to challenge Canny and ultimately expose the secret of her own existence.  Set in the Southland of Knox’s earlier Dreamhunter and Dreamquake fantasies, we are again transported on a unique and intriguing adventure.  Rating: 8.5/10.

4Kawasaki, Guy (2011) Enchantment: The art of changing, hearts, minds and actions.  Penguin.  Guy Kawasaki believes the art of enchantment can transform situations and relationships, turn cynics into believers, and change hearts and minds.  This book covers-off on some of the tactics you need to enchant and engage.  His lessons are drawn from his tenure at Apple, as well as this experience as an entrepreneur.  Some useful insights.  Rating: 7/10.

4-1Joyce, Rachel (2012) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Doubleday. When recently retired Harold Fry pops out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking to save his friend Queenie’s life. A modern version of H G Wells’s The History of Mr Polly, and Booker long-listed debut novel. An Uplifting tale.  Rating: 8/10.

imagesSpicer, Paul (2010) The Temptress; the scandalous life of Alice, Countess De Janze.  Simon & Schuster. In Kenya’s ‘Happy Valley’ the privileged colonial set farmed their estates, partied until dawn and indulged in extra-marital affairs.  At the heart of this indulgence was American heiress Countess Alice de Janze, whose stunning beauty was to prove a fatal lure to men of adventure. She arrived in Kenya as a newly married Countess in the 1920s, but by 1941  the years of partying had taken their toll. The murder of her clandestine lover and serial philanderer Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, in the early hours of 24 January 1941, led eventually to her own tragic demise. Paul Spicer, whose mother was a confidante of Alice’s, used personal letters and his own extensive research to piece together what really happened that fateful evening.  Enjoyed as an extension to James Fox’s novel and movie White Mischief. Rating: 8.5/10.

4Gregory, Philippa (2013) The White Princess. Simon & Schuster. When Henry Tudor wins the crown from Richard III at Bosworth, he knows he will have to marry Elizabeth of York to unify the country divided by war for nearly two decades.  This novel tells the  story of Elizabeth of York, daughter of the White Queen.  The latest novel in the Cousins’  War series.  Philippa Gregory knows how to turn historical events into smart entertainment.  Great read.  Rating: 8.5/10.

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