Category Archives: General

Always Anastacia by Anastacia Tomson

“I stand in front of the mirror as I remind myself that I don’t have to wear the uniform anymore. I don’t have to dress myself in men’s attire. I can grow out my nails, and paint them with polish. I am finally free to have my ears pierced. I can speak in the voice that I’ve spent so many hours cultivating with my speech therapist. I don’t have to hide my disgust anymore at being called “boet” or “sir”. I no longer have to tolerate any references to my deadname.”

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Anastacia has fought hard for her right to live, held back for decades by a body that didn’t fit, and an identity that never belonged to her. At first, it had seemed impossible – like transition was some romantic, impractical ideal that was incompatible with reality. But now, after five months of hormone therapy, countless sessions of painful laser hair removal, multiple appointments with doctors and psychologists, it is very much a reality.

Born into a Jewish family in Johannesburg and raised by her parents as a boy, Anastacia Tomson was never sure just how much of her persistent internal discomfort to blame on an often troubled family life. She qualified and practised as a doctor, but it would take a great deal more clear-sighted and difficult questioning to finally find peace and self-acceptance, as a woman. This memoir is a clarion call for a more nuanced understanding of trans people and the concepts of sex, gender and identity.

About the Author

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Anastacia Tomson grew up in Johannesburg and graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Pretoria. She has worked as a general practitioner both in the public and private sectors, as well as having a background in freelance journalism.  Anastacia has a passion for activism and advocacy, with a specific interest in promoting access to healthcare for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. She is a vocal feminist and strives to further the visibility and understanding of transgender issues at every opportunity.

View Anastacia‘s website HERE

Like Anastacia‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868427130

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The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

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In the summer of 1990, Cathy’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out. It was two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many and various fates worse than death.

This is the story of what happened to Cathy and her brother, and the unimaginable decision that she and her parents had to make eight years after the night that changed everything. It’s a story for anyone who has ever watched someone suffer or lost someone they loved or lived through a painful time that left them forever changed. Told with boundless warmth and affection, The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink is a heartbreaking yet uplifting testament to a family’s survival and the price we pay for love.

About the Author

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Cathy Rentzenbrink was born in Cornwall, grew up in Yorkshire and now lives in London. An ex-bookseller, she is now Project Director of the charity Quick Reads and Books Editor of the Bookseller magazine.

View Cathy‘s website HERE

View Cathy’s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781447286394

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The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming.

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Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?

About the Author

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Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds, where he now lives. Married, he is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor, has trained in stage-fighting, and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind, possibly excepting his son. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series.

View Adrian‘s website HERE

View Adrian‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509815104

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Glowfly Dance by Jade Gibson

‘I never see my father. My father never sees me. But I see with the eyes he gave me. Slanted like the wings of gulls flying in the sky. And, when my mother speaks of Mexico, her eyes mist up with the lights of memory.’

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Through young Mai’s eyes, life is enchanting and full of beauty. She dances on her grandfather’s feet while he talks of freedom. But the world is hard and her mother is struggling. When Rashid arrives, he casts a deep shadow over their lives. Nothing is beyond her new stepfather. They are desperate to escape from him, and their world becomes a constant battle for survival – one of fleeing, multiple identities, abduction and upheaval. Mai’s eyes not only witness the story of her mother, but also the poignant stories of the many women she encounters across different countries. Finally, Mai learns that, when freedom comes, it comes at a bitter price.

From Mexico to Scotland to London to North Africa, the West Indies and back again, Glowfly Dance is a powerful and haunting story of migration, resilience and, ultimately, hope.

About the Author

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Jade Gibson is an academic, writer and visual artist who has lived in the United Kingdom, Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Cape Town, with an academic background in biomedical science and fine art. Glowfly Dance is her debut novel and has been shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and the Virginia Prize for Fiction.

View Jade‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781415207512

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The Secrets of Happiness by Lucy Diamond

The best things in life . . .  can be just around the corner.

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Rachel and Becca aren’t real sisters, or so they say. They are stepsisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat, and has given up on love.

The two of them have lost touch, but when Rachel doesn’t come home one night, Becca is called in to help. Once there, she quickly realizes that her stepsister’s life is not so perfect after all: Rachel’s handsome husband has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all, nobody seems to have a clue where she might be.

As Becca begins to untangle Rachel’s secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about her own life, and the future seems uncertain.

But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places . . .

About the Author

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Lucy Diamond lives in Bath with her husband and their three children. She is the author of the bestselling Summer at Shell Cottage, The Beach CafeThe Year of Taking ChancesMe and Mr Jones and Summer With My Sister.

View Lucy‘s website HERE

Like Lucy‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509824557

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Little Suns by Zakes Mda

There are many suns,’ he said. ‘Each day has its own. Some are small, some are big. I’m named after the small ones.’

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It is 1903. A lame and frail Malangana – ‘Little Suns’ – searches for his beloved Mthwakazi after many lonely years spent in Lesotho. Mthwakazi was the young woman he had fallen in love with twenty years earlier, before the assassination of Hamilton Hope ripped the two of them apart.

Intertwined with Malangana’s story, is the account of Hope – a colonial magistrate who, in the late nineteenth century, was undermining the local kingdoms of the eastern Cape in order to bring them under the control of the British. It was he who wanted to coerce Malangana’s king and his people, the amaMpondomise, into joining his battle – a scheme Malangana’s conscience could not allow.

Zakes Mda‘s fine new novel Little Suns weaves the true events surrounding the death of Magistrate Hope into a touching story of love and perseverance that can transcend exile and strife.

About the Author

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Zakes Mda is the author of the novels Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, among many others. He was born in the Eastern Cape, but spent his early childhood in Soweto, finishing his school education in Lesotho. He is a prolific writer of novels, plays, poems and articles for academic journals and newspapers, and his writing has been translated into twenty languages. His creative work also includes painting, and theatre and film productions. Mda, whose forebears were exiled from Qumbu to Lesotho after the assassination of Hamilton Hope, is a recipient of South Africa’s Order of Ikhamanga. He is based in Athens, Ohio, where he spends his time writing and teaching.

Follow Zakes on Twitter HERE and like his page on Facebook HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781415209042

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Beer Safari by Lucy Corne

Following the success of African Brew, the first ever book to showcase the South African craft beer scene, beer-centric author Lucy Corne is back with a second homage to hops and grain. Beer Safari takes readers on a journey through the microbreweries of South Africa, stopping to chat to each brewer along the way.

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The book is laid out geographically to assist the reader in planning his or her own beer safari. Look out for the ‘Big Five Pints’ – the author’s pick of the very best South African craft beers. There is also space for beer aficionados to scribble their own tasting notes alongside each brewery’s beer menu.

Beer Safari is the only South African beer book whose author has, in person, visited every one of the 100-plus breweries to get the brewers’ stories, photograph their often quirky brewing setups and of course, to taste their beers. Peppered between the inspiring tales of passionate brewers, are snippets of essential beer knowledge – ideal for the ‘beerginner’ – alongside checklists that will appeal to newbie beer drinkers and veterans alike. Whether readers are looking for family-friendly beery weekends away, the cutest brewpubs with the finest views or a list of where to go for South Africa’s hoppiest ales, Beer Safari is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide.

The directory showcases everything needed to continue the beer journey – for those who prefer to enjoy other people’s wares, there are recommendations for liquor stores and bars offering a supreme selection of beer. Those who yearn to brew their own will find information on homebrewing stores, courses and clubs throughout the country. Written in Corne’s signature light-hearted style, and with a fresh, vibrant design, Beer Safari perfectly captures the exciting and unpretentious nature that characterises the South African craft beer scene.

About the Author

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Lucy Corne, a Cape Town-based, certified beer judge, has worked as a travel writer for more than a decade, with work published in magazines, newspapers, guidebooks and anthologies around the world. Beer plays a large part in her travels, and breweries often appear above museums on a trip itinerary. She also blogs about the South African beer scene under the moniker ‘The Brewmistress’.

View Lucy‘s website HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Struik Lifestyle (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781432304867

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Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

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Meet Tannie Maria: She’s fifty-something, short and soft (perhaps a bit too soft in the wrong places) with brown curls and untidy Afrikaans. She is also the agony aunt for the local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette. One day, her life takes a sinister turn when a woman in the area is murdered and she becomes entangled in the investigation… to the intense irritation of a handsome local policeman.

But what else will this amateur detective uncover in a small town marinated in secrets?

Warm, poignant and entertaining, Sally Andrew’s delightful heroine blends together intrigue, romance and cooking in this irresistible new mystery, complete with a few mouth-watering recipes.

About the Author

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Sally Andrew lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo with her artist partner, a giant eland, and a secretive leopard. She also spends time in the wilderness of southern Africa and the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. She has a master’s in Adult Education from the University of Cape Town. Before settling down to write full time, she was a social and environmental activist. Recipes for Love and Murder is her first novel.

View Sally‘s website HERE

View Sally‘s Facebook page HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

ISBN: 9781415207574

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Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The first book in the incredible new series from the author of Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus.

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Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met – who tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

About the Author

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Rick Riordan is a teacher and a writer, and has won many awards for his mystery novels for adults. He says that the idea for Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief first came to him while he was teaching Greek mythology at middle school in San Francisco. But rumour has it that Camp Half Blood actually exists, and Rick spends his summers there recording the adventures of young demigods. Some believe that, to avoid a mass panic among the mortal population, he was forced to swear on the River Styx to present Percy Jackson’s story as fiction. Rick lives in Texas (apart from his summers on Half Blood Hill) with his wife and two sons.

View Rick‘s website HERE

Like Rick‘s Facebook page HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

Published by Penguin Random House

ISBN: 9780141342429

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