Fine Music Radio | Book Choice | Episode 2

This week's edition of Fine Music Radio delves into the world of publishing with insights from Pan Macmillan South Africa's Associate Editor, Zodwa Khumalo-Valentine. Also included in this episode, is some brilliant book reviews for books by local author James Hendry and international author TJ Klune

Take a humorous dip into the wild with James Hendry! This real-life wildlife safari guide, TV Presenter and speaker, who also hosts the massively successful Wild Earth Series showcases his humour with his hilarious bush tales at the Sasikiela Game Reserve where we as readers are behind the scenes and bare witness to the often funny mishaps that happen. 

You can enjoy his masterful story-telling, by choosing from the below: 

A Year in the Wild

by James Hendry

Book cover for A Year in the Wild

Angus and Hugh MacNaughton are brothers. They dislike each other ... A lot.

They have loathed each other since Hugh bit Angus at a family picnic many years ago. In a last-ditch attempt to forge a brotherly bond between the two, Mr and Mrs MacNaughton secure them jobs at the exclusive, five-star Sasekile Private Game Lodge.

A Year in the Wild tells the uproarious, cringe-worthy and hilarious tales of Angus and Hugh in the form of weekly emails to their sister Julia.

Combine an eclectic mix of rich, over-demanding
and adulterous guests, a dash of crazy bush lodge staff, including two jealous
brothers (one a bitterly sarcastic game ranger and the other an over-eager
lodge manager), and throw in the beauty of the African bushveld. Shake well.
Conflict and disaster are inevitable

Back to the Bush

by James Hendry

Book cover for Back to the Bush

Back to the Bush is the tale of a second year at Sasekile Private Game Reserve for brothers Angus and Hugh MacNaughton. Angus’s weekly journal recounts a positive beginning to the year: fastidious Hugh is in love, running his own camp and on the verge of a promotion. Angus is involved in a romantic liaison, which takes the edge off his customary cynicism, and for the first time in their adult lives, a positive fraternal bond exists between them.

Inevitably, reality comes calling. Angus’s love affair ends, Hugh becomes stratospherically arrogant, and Julia, the MacNaughtons’ sister, starts dating Angus’s nemesis – Alistair ‘the Legend’ Jones. Then there are a series of further ‘hiccups’, from demanding lodge guests and marauding monkeys, to a run-in with a blind-drunk head chef, a winter drought, a rogue elephant and the resignation of the sterling head ranger.

You are guaranteed to be entertained by the hilarious antics and hard knocks as well as the fierce beauty of the African landscape.

Return to the Wild

by James Hendry

Book cover for Return to the Wild

Following on from his bestselling novels A Year in the Wild and Back to the Bush, James Hendry returns to the setting of Sasekile Private Game Reserve for another tale that takes the reader behind the scenes with the MacNaughton brothers, Angus and Hugh.

It is four and a half years since Angus’s last year in the wild when he was newly appointed to the position of head ranger at Sasekile. Much has happened in the interim.

In Return to the Wild there is high drama, much hilarity and close encounters with wildlife, fire and human incompetence as Angus unexpectedly returns to Sasekile to take on the training of a motley group of would-be game rangers with his usual stark but eloquent honesty. Alongside him, Hugh manages the lodge and its colourful staff with a varying degree of competence as events lurch from mishap to potential catastrophe.

Whether you are a fan of the MacNaughtons’ previous misadventures or a reader new to their story, Return to the Wild is a highly amusing, engaging and heartfelt read.

In the next segment of the episode, we dive into the fantasy world created by author TJ Klune in his incredible books:

House in the Cerulean Sea

by TJ Klune

Book cover for House in the Cerulean Sea

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place – and realizing that family could be yours.

‘I loved it. It is like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket. Simply perfect’ V. E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

He expected nothing. But they gave him everything . . .

Linus Baker leads a quiet life. At forty, he has a tiny house with a devious cat and his beloved records for company. And at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, he’s spent many dull years monitoring their orphanages.

Then one day, Linus is summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a highly classified assignment. He must travel to an orphanage where six dangerous children reside – including the Antichrist.

At the orphanage, Linus must somehow determine if they could bring about the end of days. But their guardian, the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, will do anything to protect his wards. And, as Arthur and Linus grow ever closer, Linus must choose: his duty, or his dreams . . .

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is an uplifting, heart-warming fantasy tale that’s become a New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post bestseller.

‘Likely to cause heart-swelling’ – Washington Post

‘A modern fairy tale . . . It’s a beautiful book’ – Charlaine Harris, bestselling author of Dead Until Dark

‘Touching, tender and truly delightful’ – Gail Carriger, author of Soulless

Under the Whispering Door

by TJ Klune

Book cover for Under the Whispering Door


by TJ Klune

Book cover for Wolfsong

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The House in the Cerulean Sea, Under the Whispering Door and In the Lives of Puppets, Wolfsong is a story of love, loyalty, and family.

Ox Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harbouring a secret that would change him forever. For the family are shape-shifters, who can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known. He also finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Joe is charming and handsome, but haunted by scars he cannot heal.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town, and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

Wolfsong is the first book in beloved the Green Creek series by bestselling author TJ Klune. Continue the journey with Ravensong.

Praise for TJ Klune:

'Like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket' – V. E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

'A whimsical, warm-hearted fantasy' – The Guardian

'A radiant treat' – Locus Magazine