Book Reviews Februrary 2023

2023 is the year of the book revival, with Harry’s infamous Spare becoming the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time. We take a look at this – and a few other great reads too.

WIN! We have a copy of each book to give away!  To be in to win, email competitions@nzmcd.co.nz. Winners will be drawn on February 20th 2023.

Pegasus

Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud
MacMillan
RRP $39.99

From investigative journalists Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud, Pegasus looks at how people’s lives and privacy are being threatened as cybersurveillance occurs with exponentially increasing frequency across the world, at a sweep and scale that astounds – and horrifies. Pegasus is almost certainly the most powerful piece of spyware ever developed. Installed by as little as a missed WhatsApp call, once on your phone it can record your calls, copy your messages, steal your photos and secretly film you. Those that control it can find out your daily movements: exactly where you’ve been, and who you’ve met. From a wayward princess who married into the royal family of Dubai; to the president of one of the most powerful and long-standing Republics in Europe; and a reporter investigating arms deals being negotiated by the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Trump administration: these three individuals and many more have been targeted by Pegasus – with sometimes deadly consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

Cold People

Tom Rob Smith
Harper Collins
RRP $37.99

 

The world has fallen. Without warning, a mysterious and omnipotent force has claimed the planet for their own. There are no negotiations, no demands, no reasons given for their actions. All they have is a message: humanity has thirty days to reach the one place on Earth where they will be allowed to exist… Antarctica. The long-awaited Cold People comes from bestselling author Tom Rob Smith, (who wrote Child 44, the first thriller ever longlisted for the Booker Prize) and is his first novel in eight years. Cold People is a suspenseful and fast-paced novel about an Antarctic colony of global apocalypse survivors seeking to reinvent civilisation under the most extreme conditions imaginable. A fitting dystopia, Cold People captures the sudden turmoil of a climate-interrupted world, exploring the repercussions of humanity’s devastating impact on the planet. Smith’s bright, closely-observed prose powers a plot-driven narrative that will appeal to a broad range of readers. Perfect for fans of Cormac McCarthy, Emily St. John Mandel and James Bradley.

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The Sharesies Guide to Investing

Brooke Roberts, Leighton Roberts and Sonya Williams
Allen & Unwin
RRP $36.99


Online investing platform Sharesies has revolutionised the way everyday people invest. Since its beginning in 2017, thousands of new investors — often with just a bit of spare cash — have joined the platform to start their journey toward financial empowerment. Sharesies broke down the barriers that once priced ordinary people out of the share market. But for many, the knowledge barrier still exists. How to start, what to invest in, and how much—figuring this stuff out can feel overwhelming. Lucky for us, The Sharesies Guide to Investing, written by the platform’s co-founders Brooke Roberts, Leighton Roberts and Sonya Williams, aims to help answer these questions and more, as well as give readers the confidence to take the first step on their own investing journey. Through easy-to-digest information, jargon-busting investing speak, and stories from Sharesies investors, readers can learn how to make the most of investing in shares (while staying true to their values) and discover how investing can help secure a financial future.

 

 

 

 

Someone else’s shoes

Jojo Moyes
Penguin Random House
RRP $37

The brand-new novel from the bestselling author of Me Before You and The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes’ latest effort Someone Else’s Shoes is a story of mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of second chances. Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women. Nisha, 45, lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in. That’s because Sam — 47, middleaged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat — has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. Now Nisha has nothing. And Sam’s walking tall with shoes that catch eyes — and give her career an unexpected boost. Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything. The book’s most unlikely set of circumstances combined with the author’s fantastic storytelling abilities can assure hours of fun reading.

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Spare

Prince Harry
Penguin Random House
RRP $65

You couldn’t get a book more talked about – and more controversial – than Prince Harry’s Spare. After spending his entire life in the public eye, the Prince now shares his journey in his own words (with help of a very well-paid ghostwriter, let’s be honest), for the first time. With specials on Oprah, a six-hour Netflix special, and what seemed to be never-ending interviews and ‘leaks’, one could argue that the Prince has become a bit overexposed. So what could there possibly be left to uncover? More than you’d think, actually; not every detail got out, and there’s still plenty of good stuff for anyone caught up in this royal reality show. Spare offers insight into Harry’s version of royal reality, as well as his perspective on the intrusions of the press, the perceived racial attacks on Meghan, his time in service, and much, much more. The memoir covers Prince Harry’s life from his early years as a young boy growing up, without a mother, in the British Royal Family to now, including his life in California with his wife Meghan and two children, Archie and Lilibet. And he reckons there’s a second book to come…

 

 

 

 

The Snake Head

Patrick Radden Keefe
MacMillan
RRP $39.99

In this thrilling panorama of real-life events, The Snake Head investigates a secret world run by a surprising criminal: a charismatic middle-aged grandmother, who from a tiny noodle shop in New York’s Chinatown managed a multimillion dollar business smuggling people. Patrick Radden Keefe, an award-winning writer at The New Yorker and author of Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, reveals the inner workings of Cheng Chui Ping, aka Sister Ping’s complex empire and recounts the decade-long FBI investigation that eventually brought her down. He follows an often incompetent and sometimes corrupt INS as it pursues desperate immigrants risking everything to come to America, and along the way, he paints a stunning portrait of a generation of illegal immigrants and the intricate underground economy that sustains and exploits them. Grand in scope yet propulsive in narrative force, The Snake Head is both a kaleidoscopic crime story and a brilliant exploration of the ironies of immigration in America; an epic tale of the Chinatown underworld and the American Dream.

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