Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Personal Top 10 Reads of 2015

Well, it's that time of year again where I give a wrap up of my favorite reads.

This has been a crazy year and I have not read nearly as much as I would have liked to. However, there have been some exceptional books that have really stood out for me.

Please note that this list is in no particular order.


10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
This is a noteworthy read because of the kick-ass heroine and fast-paced plot.
ToG is the first in a six book series, of which the first four have been published. There is also a bind up of novellas which serves as a prequel. It follows Celaena, an infamous assassin, as she gets wrapped up in political intrigue while trying to save her own life. There is romance and plenty of action for both guys and girls to enjoy.


9. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
A touching contemporary read with more focus on family and less on romance.
I adored this book on so many levels and this is probably one the top books of 2015. It is told from alternating viewpoints of two siblings as they struggle with their individual hurdles. This is one grab if you are looking to get into YA but question whether it has the emotional depth of more "mature" reads".


8. The Novice by Taran Matharu
This is sort of like Pokemon meets Harry Potter.
I loved how, while parts of the story could be called out for being unoriginal, the story as a whole is very refreshing and packed with action. This is one of those books that can easily be read by both girls and boys. Tons of fun!


7. Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack
An intriguing Gothic mystery with vibes of Jane Eyre.
I admit to not expecting much when I get a review copy of this book. And I was totally blown away by the atmosphere and  plot of Sanctuary. This is a must-read if you are wanting something a little off the beaten track.


6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
A modern, twisted tale with romance and faeries.
More mature than her ToG series, I really recommend this for anyone looking to get into fantasy. I am not normally a fan of books dealing with faeries, but this manages to avoid all the tropes that normally annoy me. And the romance is super hot!



5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six awesome characters and one impossible heist.
This was a complete binge purchase on Raru and I am so glad I bought this particular edition. Not only is the book gorgeous to look at, the content is awesome too. Packed with adventure, humor and characters so rich you will have a hard time picking a favorite. This is a must read!




4. Smiler's Fair by Rebecca Levene
A rich fantasy set in a unique, dark world.
I do, on occasion, read adult books and this is one of those books I am thankful I picked up. The writing is gorgeous and the cast of characters twisted and compelling. A good read for all lovers of fantasy, but certainly not what I would recommend to delve into this genre for the first time, as the story can be complex to follow.




3. Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
A girl straddles two worlds in this rich fantasy with a touch of sci-fi,
Lauded for the quality of the writing, this novel is also something a little different for the YA fans out there. It merges our current world as we know it with a rich fantasy world set in the very sky above our heads. I really enjoyed this and was pleased to see the bold steps authors are taking with breaking free of current YA trends.



2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
A sci-fi tale of mystery and deceit told through transcripts and documentation.
I will admit that, at the time of this post, I am only halfway through this book. But I am putting it here anyway. This is an amazing read where I am still trying to figure out what exactly is going on. I love having to build the story to different pieces of evidence, some unreliable. It's awesome and addictive.



1. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
An urban fantasy revolving around conflict between two races and the human girl who gets in the way.
Yet another quality fantasy with a compelling story. While some might find it similar to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I found this to actually be a better story in a lot of ways. And the romance is much more well done.

And there it is. A nice selection of stocking-fillers for the YA fan in your life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eats: Copperlake Brewing Company



Venue: Copperlake Brewing Company

Location: Broadacres Shopping Centre off Cedar rd, Broadacres

Cost: Meals averaging at R80, R38 for a 500ml craft beer, R28 for 375ml.


About

Copperlake is a vibey pub situated just off Cedar rd in Broadacres. 

They serve their own brand of craft beer, coolers and ciders and offer a wide variety of meals and finger foods. They also offer wine and cocktails.

The main focus of the decor is the brewing apparatus where one can watch a brewer at work and be welcomed with the warm, yeasty aroma of the next batch of beer being produced. 

For the party crowd, you can rent a number of games including beer pong and can hire a personal keg for your function.

Live bands perform most Sundays.


Experience



A friend and myself decided to try Copperlake for lunch and sampling some of their brews this past Saturday.

While it was quiet when we arrived at 12, the place quickly filled up with patrons. The venue is open and welcoming and throughout the day we enjoyed a mix of classic rock piped through their sound system, which I really enjoyed.

My first drink of choice was the Cherry Cider, which was nice and tart with a lot of flavor. I like that it was not overly sweet and one could easily have a few without fear of inducing diabetes.

My friend ordered the tasting plate which includes the 6 standard house beers, the citrus cooler and a special edition beer. Good value for R30 and definitely helped narrow down what he wanted to order next.

I then tried out the Citrus Cooler, which is much sweeter but just as enjoyable.

We ordered lunch and I had one of the best Chicken Schnitzels (R78) I have ever tasted. What made this great was the quality of the cheese sauce that definitely didn't originate from a powdered form. The side salad was fresh and drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.

My friend had the Brie and Pepperdew Burger, which he swears is one of the best in JHB and worth the visit.

All in all, this is a great chilled venue to hang out with a group of friend and we will be back for the food let alone the beer.

Tips

  • Note that they are closed on Mondays
  • Books must be made for large groups as they can fill up quickly
  • Ask them about their food platters and kegs for large groups
  • It can get quite rowdy later in the day, so this is probably not the best venue for an intimate date

@copperlake_sa

Thursday, November 12, 2015

10 Things I am Thankful For in 2015

So those of you who know me personally will know that 2015 has been a hell of a year for me. While there have been a lot of bad times, there has also been a lot of good too.
I would even dare say that this has been the year in which I have grown the most. Come out of my shell,  so to speak.
So here are my top ten highlights of the year with some random gratitude interspersed in between!
1. This has been the year in which I put together not one but two amazing events for bloggers. From organising venues and sponsorships to promoting the events to actually speaking at them with a microphone and everything. Sometimes I take a step back and wonder who this person is because I never,  ever thought I would be capable of such things.
2. I started a new job this year and have had my most successful year as a Recruiter yet, even though there have been tears and frustrations. One may not always be able to plan for their career, but we can certainly make the most of where we find ourselves in life.
3. My unexpected singleness resulted in me becoming assertive and  independant. Suddenly I had to make choices just for me. Do things just for me. It is amazingly empowering.
4. The blogging aspect has grown and risen to new heights. I am so blessed with all the support from readers, authors and publishers. It seems surreal that people even visit my posts,  much less generate the number of hits I get. I achieve now in a day what I used to get in a month. So thank you.
5. I have successfully been living alone for a year. Sure it's lonely at times but I have cats now. And rats. And two fish. So I'm good. I now also own things like furniture and a TV. Which I never had this time last year.
6. I really recommend doing things that scare you. For me, this was zip lining, driving a 4x4 course, public speaking and joining an action netball team where I offer little more than flailing arms and foul language.
7. I have a gym membership now! And I torture myself with spinning classes and running on the treadmill. Ok, running is a bit of a poor term for what I do. Let's call it loping. Or perhaps briskly striding while working up a gentle glow.
8. I started playing Magic the Gathering and have succeeded in spending a ton of cash on my ever growing collection of cards. I also attended my first formal tourney. And met some great new people. Sometimes it helps to just embrace your geeky side.
9. My photography has grown by leaps and bounds. I no longer just take photos of horses! In fact, I like taking pictures of things that are not of the equine variety! Musicians are a favorite new thing.
10. I have made so many wonderful new friends. Either through Magic, gaming days, Meetup.com... It is awesome. And it makes me feel more comfortable just being myself m no matter how odd that person really is.
So there it is. Thanks to everyone who has played a role in my personal journey this year. I hope the rest of this year and 2016 brings great things for everyone. xoxo

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

NYT Top 10 YA Hardcover Bestsellers - November Week 2

I love keeping track of which books are selling well and the New York times is pretty much the best resource you can get.

Here are this weeks' top ten! Ranking reflect sales for the week ending October 31st 2015.



  1. This Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester
  2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  3. Girl, Online: On Tour by Zoe Sugg
  4. The Rose Society by Marie Lu
  5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  6. Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl
  7. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  9. Illuminae by Annie Kaufman and Kay Kristoff
  10. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
What is super impressive is the fact that three of those slots are taken up by Rainbow Rowell's titles. Eleanor and Park was published in 2013! But big props to Rainbow for clearly dominating the YA market right now.

I am really excited for the Black Widow novel and it's been getting killer reviews. Anything superhero is a must-have in my books!

I also really want Illuminae as the book looks simply gorgeous and has a unique way of storytelling.

I have read Six of Crows and can definitely give it a bog nod of approval. I am glad to see it on this list.

What titles are you really looking forward to? Do you think any of these don't deserve to be best-sellers?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Exclusive Books Christmas Catalogue Launch 2015


I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of Exclusive Books' Christmas Catalogue at their recently refurbished Rosebank store this past Friday.

Not really knowing what to expect as I had never really been exposed to events like this, I arrived with a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

After having a cup of amazing coffee, we were seated and greeted by Benjamin Trisk, the CEO of Exclusive Books. He spoke of how their choices this year came from all the staff and were picked so that there would be something for everyone.

They have certainly achieved this, with titles spanning from The Mountain Shadow (the much anticipated sequel to Shantaram) to Lost Ocean, the gorgeous new title from the queen of coloring books, Joanna Basford.

Some of the titles included in the catalogue.
Of course, everyone was anxious to meet Suzelle, the DIY YouTube sensation who has just released her first book. Suzelle was so much fun as she walked us through making a book tote bag out of a t-shirt. I struggled a little tying the bottom tassels so it was just as well that I was the lucky winner of a signed copy of Suzelle's book, which has instructions  inside for the tote bag as well as other awesome DIY projects.


We then had a break and a chance to sample some of the delicious food on offer. Wine was provided by Porcupine Ridge but I opted to give that a pass for Bos Ice Tea instead. I had my first ever macaroon and far more Camembert than should be legal.

We were then able to select our next activity between container gardening with Jane Griffiths, learning to draw the characters from Madam & Eve with Rico, tasting craft beer with Lucy Corne and decorating cookies with Elli Saayman in celebration of the release of the special edition of Alice in Wonderland.

I opted for the container gardening due to my background in Conservation and got to put together and take home an upside-down potted parsley which now graces my front door. We learned about the water-holding properties of peat (an essential in this drought!) and the soil enriching characteristics of earthworms.



Jane's book is readily available at all Exclusive Books branches and is an essential for any city-dwelling South African as it details making the most of small spaces in an organic, environmentally friendly way.

All in all, I had a fantastic day and was spoiled rotten. I was also lucky enough to take home copies of the new illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter and Derek Landy's Demon Road, which were my choices from the catalogue.

A huge thank you to:
Exclusive Books
Suzelle DIY
Jane Griffiths
All the wonderful publishers and publicists who helped make this event possible.

There are some wonderful options so I do recommend you have a look at their catalogue for some great gift ideas.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review : This Song Will Save Your Life

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Publisher: PanMacmillan (2013)

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski's strong suit. All throughout her life, she's been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

I devoured this book on Saturday morning while enjoying a lazy lie in. I actually only bought it because the author's latest title had such a gorgeous cover and interesting premise that I decided to just get her debut title too.

Elise is the socially awkward girl a lot of us can relate to during her high school years. She tries to fit in but kinda sucks at it. One random night, she find out about this underground club where she discovers a passion for DJing and find herself making friends and fitting in.

What I loved was that this book references alk kind of music and even has a playlist at the back. It was awesome that the author opted for classic tracks rather than lean on popular culture.

Elise is all about the music and I know a lot of the music she talks about. Which somehow made me connect more to her character.

There are some real world issues that this book touches on, but in no way are they made light of. Which makes this a read I recommend for kids who are dealing with not fitting in and cyber bullying.

All in all, I really loved this and look forward to reading Tonight the Streets are Ours, the latest by Leila Sales. Good for fans of Sarah Dessen and even Rainbow Rowell.

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen ( June 2015)

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns into an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

I have not read a Katie McGarry before this as they have not really grabbed me. But there was something about Nowhere But Here that inspired the Have To Own feeling I often get trolling other blogs out there.

It probably had a lot to do with centering around a biker gang and that gorgeous cover too. But that simply shows how superficial I really am when chosing books!

Because it's not easily available here yet and because I abhor eBooks,  I ordered a hardcover US edition from Raru.co.za and, not that I am affiliated with them, I got amazing service. So really suggest going that route with any titles you struggle to find locally.

So, back to the book!

This is one of those oxymoronic reads thst is both light and fluffy while still dealing with serious issues. I love her writing style though would have preferred a faster plot.

Having said that, this would make a fabulous movie. It has all the ingredients for a teen classic. It just needs a suitably hot male lead for girls to swoon over.

Love the romance and how the Sexual tension is created. I love the whole gang of bikers and their families. I cannot wait for the sequel to be out so I can see how the other guys' storylines develop.

If you want a fun romance with heart, then you can't go wrong with this. It is a bit hefty for the genre, but stick with it!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley


Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 2015)

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. 
Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.
So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.
Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.
Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
Magonia is one of those strange little books that you find yourself enjoying in spite of it being a little bit out there in terms of plot and setting.

However, in a market saturated with books trying to be the next Hunger Games / Harry Potter / Twilight, this is a really refreshing read. As i was reading it, it reminded me of... nothing. Which is amazing as a lot of books there borrow heavily from their predecessors.

I kind of wish that there was no romance though and that more attention had been given to the world building. Just because it is YA does not mean it needs to be saturated with romance! I really wish authors would understand this. Had this element been underplayed, Magonia would have felt more like a fairy tale. I would have been more invested in the world and the story.

That does not mean that this is a bad book. If you are looking for a quick read that is written well, this is your best bet. It's 320 pages long and the story flows. This is a good choice for a day at the beach or a holiday so perhaps one to add to your summer reading lists.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Blog Tour: The Thing About Jellyfish

Hi everyone!

Thanks for popping by and joining me on this leg of The Thing About Jellyfish South African blog tour.


The Thing About Jellyfish bi Ali Benjamin is a MG novel that is beautifully written and articulates emotions we all have felt at some point in our lives.

Suzy Swanson hears about the death of her friend Franny. Rather than simply accepting that things just happen, Suzy starts the process of finding out the reason her friend, a strong swimmer, died.

There is also the fact Suzy won't speak to anyone about anything that she is going through and chooses to immerse herself in researching jellyfish as she feels this provides the best explanation for her friend's death.

In doing this, Suzy starts discovering things about herself and people around her.

So while this book has been likened to John Green, I actually feel that Ali Benjamin is a far superior writer. She is so, so good at capturing grief and loss.

I hope that this book gets placed on reading lists on schools across the globe. I am a firm believer that books can provide comfort and solace and help us deal with difficult periods in our lives. Children can't came across these reads as easily as adults can and often the option needs to be blatantly given to them.

While this is an emotional read, I enjoyed experiencing Suzy's journey and loved some of the insights that came through in her narration.

I also loved all the interesting jellyfish facts and will definitely be reading up more information on them!




Check out the other blogs participating!
26th October – Monique Snyman from Charming Incantations
27th October- Monique Bernic from Paranormalsphere
28th October – Kelly Ansara from It’s a Book Thing
29th October – Lu from Sugar and Snark
30th October – Belinda Glenn from Girl From Mars
31st October – Tammy from Book Fairy’s Haven
1st November – TAJ Playlist and Wrap-up

It's a Book Thing: Review: The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin





Check out Kelly's review here:

It's a Book Thing: Review: The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin



Thanks for taking part in the blog tour, Kelly!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blog Tour: Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Join local SA bloggers as we read and appreciate new release The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin!

Kicking off on the 26th October and running all week,  we will be stopping off at a different blog every day celebrating the release of this touching middle grade novel focusing on grief, loss, family and friendship.

Schedule
26th October - Monique Snyman from Charming Incantations
27th October- Monique Bernic from Paranormalsphere
28th October - Kelly Ansara from It's a Book Thing
29th October - Lu from Sugar and Snark
30th October - Belinda  Glenn from Girl From Mars
31st October - Tammy from Book Fairy's Haven
1st November - TAJ Playlist and Wrap-up

About the Novel
Suzy Swanson is pretty sure she knows the real reason Franny Jackson died. Everyone says that there’s no way to be certain…that sometimes things just happen. But Suzy knows there must be a better explanation—a scientific one. Haunted by the loss of her former best friend — and by a final, terrible moment that passed between them — she retreats into a silent world of her own imagination. 

Convinced that Franny’s death was the result of a freak jellyfish sting, she crafts a plan to prove the truth, even if it means traveling around the globe… alone. As she prepares, she learns astonishing things about the universe around her… and discovers the potential for love and hope in her own backyard.

About the Author
Ali Benjamin is the co-writer for HIV-positive teen Paige Rawl's coming-of-age memoir, Positive, as well as Tim Howard's New York Times bestseller The Keeper. She is a member of New England Science Writers and has written for The Boston Globe Magazine, Martha Stewart's Whole Living, and Sesame Street. She lives in Massachusetts.

What the Critics Are Saying

A 2015 National Book Award for Young People's Literature Long List Book
An Amazon Editor's Fall Favorite Children's Book
A Booklist Top Ten First Novel of 2015

*"A painful story smartly told, Benjamin's first solo novel has appeal well beyond a middle school audience."
―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*"Reminiscent of works by Jennifer L. Holm and Sharon Creech, Benjamin's novel is a shining example of the highs and lows of early adolescence."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"Benjamin's sense of timing and delivery is extraordinary, as she blends the visceral experiences of Suzy's journey with an internal dialogue that is authentic and poignant....readers...will fully immerse themselves in this superbly written, heartfelt novel."―School Library Journal, starred review

*"Benjamin's involving novel features clean, fluid writing that is highly accessible, yet rich with possibilities for discussion.... Her highly individual, first-person narrative makes compelling reading.... An uncommonly fine first novel."―Booklist, starred review

*"This novel has it all: just-right pacing, authentic voices and characters, beautifully crafted plot, and superb writing. Readers will find that this story lingers with them after the book is closed."―VOYA, starred review

"There are...a lot of children who might not only benefit from this book but also find themselves deeply moved by it."―New York Times Book Review

"Seventh-grade narrator Suzy Swanson will win readers' hearts as she silently struggles to come to terms with her complex emotions over the death of her former best friend."―Shelf Awareness

Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (novel)

Title: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Authors: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publisher: Random House

It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

I watched the film adaption of this before I even know the book existed. Seriously,  what kind of book fan am I? I feel ashamed of myself on principle.

I loved the film and picked up a copy of the novel last week on special not really knowing what to expect.

For starters,  it was similar enough to the film to make my pedantic side happy, but it was also quite different in a lot of ways too. Which is tough because I love both versions!

I am not going to compare here, as I think you need to enjoy both for what they are.

The book is less than 200 pages and will be a perfect pick for your summer reading by the pool. The writing and characterisation is witty and intelligent and this will certainly appeal to John Green fans.

It is mature YA, though, so I do caution younger readers and parents. There is crude language and references. Sexual scenes are quite steamy and other events may make the more prudish raise an eyebrow. But this is exactly why I recommend this book.

It is an honest look at teens and what they get exposed to.

It also has the added benefit of reading like a fun travel guide to NYC. Part of me also want to pull an all - nighter in the city that never sleeps.

So get it. Read it with an open mind. Enjoy it for what it is. And then check out the film too!

Review: Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack

Title: Sanctuary
Author: Jennifer McKissack
Publisher: Scholastic (October 2015)

A haunting and luminous Gothic YA novel about reckoning with the ghosts of one's dark past.

After the untimely death of her aunt Laura, Cecilia Cross is forced to return to Sanctuary, a rambling, old French-Gothic mansion that crowns a remote island off the coast of Maine. Cecilia is both drawn to and repulsed by Sanctuary. The scent of the ocean intoxicates her, but she's also haunted by the ghosts of her past -- of her father who died at Sanctuary five years ago, and of her mother who was committed soon after. The memories leave Cecilia feeling shaken, desperate to run away and forget her terrible family history.

But then a mysterious guest arrives at Sanctuary: Eli Bauer, a professor sent to examine Sanctuary's library. Cecilia is intrigued by this strange young man who seems so interested in her -- even more interested in her than in the books he is meant to be studying. Who is he and what does he want? Can Cecilia possibly trust her growing feelings for him? And can he help her make peace with her haunted, tragic past?

I was fortunate to discover this wonderful novel through recieving a review copy  from Scholastic. And I send them a huge thank you for that because this is not normally a book I would pick up.

Sanctuary is one if the most unique books I have read this year. It is also, thankfully, a standalone. It is a quick yet atmospheric read with a spunky narrator and twisted, well - executed plot.

It is set in post - depression America which also adds to the enjoyment as it is not flooded with cultural references and actually relies on the story and not trends to draw the reader in. It also means that Sanctuary has the feel of being a classic, a book that could be read 50 years from now and still feel relevant.

I really recommend this as a good option for the holidays. It's one of the best books I have read this year. Good for fans of Jane Eyre.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blog Tour: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas


I am exceptionally proud to be part of the A Court of Thorns and Roses South African Blog Tour! (Thanks for organizing this, Tammy!)

My experience of Sarah J Mass is limited to the first book in her Throne of Glass series. Which it amazing, by the way! So good, in fact, that I am rereading it as I type. Ok, not literally!

ACOTAR,  as it is fondly known by fans, follows a Cinderella - like Feyre as she gets thrown into the secret world of the fae when she accidentally kills one of their kind with an arrow.

In a bargain made to keep her family provided for,  Feyre gets taken across the border as a prisoner of sorts of the enigmatic Tamlin. Here she discovers that there are secrets within secrets and this magical world and their people are not quite what the stories lead her to believe. 

Feyre is an awesome, strong lead character who is handy with a bow and quick to say what she feels. I love that there is this wave of Fantasy that features strong female leads who stand their ground.

While this novel clearly draws influences from a variety of fairy tales,  it is still very much its own unique story with memorable characters you will fall in love with. My personal favorite is Lucien. ;)

If you are looking for a great read this weekend, pick this one up. I also recommend if for those wanting to get into fantasy, as the plot progresses quickly and the world is introduced with subtlety. 

Check out the other local bloggers and their thoughts as we share the love for ACOTAR this week!

Big thanks to Jonathan Ball for providing us with the opportunity to host this event! 

About Sarah:

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music.

She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV.

When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.


Tour schedule:

Monday – 17th Aug

Tammy @ The Book Fairy’s Haven: Q & A with Sarah

Nerine @ This is my world: Review


Tuesday – 18 August


Hannah  @ Fully booked reviews: Top 10 list


Wednesday: 19 August

Monique @ Paranormalsphere:  Review of ACOTAR 


Thursday: 20th August

Kyra  @ Blog of a Bookaholic  - Review


Tammy  @ The Book Fairy’s Haven – Review


Friday: 21 August

Hannah @ Fully Booked reviews – Review

Giveaway post:  Win 3 copies of SJM - TBA

Friday, August 14, 2015

On Bic and the Social Media Bandwagon of Rage

Is it just me, or are people morphing into these selfish, self-entitled monsters who will use any excuse to throw their toys and get their panties into knots so complex, it would take a MENSA candidate to untangle them from their asses?

Let's look as what went down locally on the Interwebs this week.

There was the impressive and yet somehow underwhelming saga of #Bicgate. I am a woman. In fact, I am a strong, opinionated woman who loves a good rant over my rights, but this just floored me. Bic's Social Media and Marketing people in their infinite wisdom put up a little quote that implied that in order to be successful, women had to "Think like a man". Yes, they fucked up and did so properly, but the ensuing snark, sarcasm and general hate that spread over the Internet as a result was downright uncalled for.

Even after issuing a formal apology for a mistake probably made by some young lackey at the bottom of the ladder, Bic was under fire by the general public. To me it seemed like Twitter exploded into a pissing contest to see who could be the "cleverest" at bashing Bic and getting the most rewteets. Because why else would someone to go such effort to Photoshop and post stuff like that?

Sure, maybe Bic needed to be called out on their actions. Sexism is not ok. But neither is turning a brand into a scapegoat for something that is actually a bigger issue.

One may argue and say we need to fight the small battles to win the bigger ones, but I felt like people lost sight of the purpose of their rants and simply ranted for the sake of ranting and getting their airtime. It was the trend of the day.

It gives me the impression that the relative anonymity of platforms like Twitter takes away any sense of responsibility or accountability for what people say.

All those tweets and hate are fielded by some poor PR or Social Media person who is subsequently probably really hating life right now. They do not go directly to the Bic Powers That Be. Some poor person starting out their career has to field all that shit. But I bet no one thinks of that. They are all focused on getting their message across in the "cleverest" way possible.

It basically amounted to a case of public bullying that is essentially seen as ok by everyone. Imagine if these things were being said to an individual. Suddenly, it's not so great, is it? Not so clever and smart, because suddenly it feels like we are back in high school playing the popularity game.

Social Media is a nasty beast and should be handled a little better than it has been. Companies should be more careful in how they present themselves and surely the general public should have the same courtesy.

Get off the bandwagon. Think about your actions. And consider if what you are doing is really the right approach for social change. Because for me it just makes society look really, really mean and self-entitled.

Don't worry Bic, I will still buy your pens because I am capable of judging you on the quality of your product. They are still the most reliable pens out there and even if Bic is run by a bunch of misogynists, I will still buy them. Because why would I want to suffer with inferior writing implements? That's just stupid.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nandi Reviews - Riot by Sarah Mussi

Title: Riot
Author: Sarah Mussi
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

NO MORE CHILDREN IN NEED BILL:
the enforced sterilisation of all teenagers without
secure university places or guaranteed jobs.
The Teen Haves will be safe.
The Teen Have Nots will suffer.
It’s time for teenagers to take to the streets.
It’s time for their voices to be heard.
It’s time for them to RIOT.
OUR RIGHTS. OUR BODIES. OUR FUTURE.

This is one of those rare books that deals with a situation that, although not real, is a very real possibility, and really makes you think while reading it. The story is set in England, and deals with issues of poverty, over population, lack of jobs, and the government’s attempt at fixing these problems. Their solution is forced sterilisation for all teenagers from families in the lower and middle classes. Tia is our main character, and she faces a moral dilemma; does she look after herself, or does she fight for the needs of the people at a huge risk to herself. She is a very likeable character, and I would like to think that if I were placed in a similar situation, I would make similar choices.

The story is primarily a political one, but seen through the eyes of a teenager. There were a couple of moments where I started getting frustrated with the political explanations, but the story is fast paced enough that this doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyability of the book. There are so many unexpected twists in the plot that will keep you on your toes and guessing throughout your read. Although the story is seen through the eyes of a 16 year old, this book isn’t for very young readers, as there are scenes of violence that could be quite disturbing because of the realistic nature of the story.


There is, of course, a love story, although this is a background story rather than something that we focus on. The story is set over a very short period of time (less than a week, until the epilogue), and Mussi deals with the romantic aspect very realistically, in that the characters don’t fall in love at first sight, and they learn a lot about each other before anything really develops.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, and won’t hesitate in reading more Sarah Mussi books.

Friday, July 31, 2015

August Challenge: 10 Books Under 350 pages



So I had an idea that would revolutionize the way I manage my insane TBR pile and this month I have decided to pull 10 books to read in August that are less then 350 pages long.

My logic for doing this is as follows:

  1. I have too many books I need to read
  2. I need to produce more content for the blog
  3. I battle to focus on longer books with current work and life stresses
  4. I can literally read an entire book in one day on the weekend if it's that short
  5. I will get my reading mojo back with shorter books
So I am really looking forward to seeing which titles apply and how I progress with this. I am going to put the pile together this evening and will try to have some variety in there too. I will put up a pic of the final pile later over the weekend. :)

Excited! Are you guys doing any challenges this month?

(PS: I know my banner is awesome. My talents at MS Paint amaze even myself.)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The 5 Most Offputting Male Tinder Stereotypes

So I have been flicking through profiles on Tinder in my attempts to get sleepy and noticed many guys cut from the same cloth. To the point where I think they follow some sort of guide to bagging chicks on Tinder. Here are the five most common (with memes!).

1. The Gym Boet 


Seen in a Monster cap and no shirt, the Gym Boet is super-proud of his unnaturally buff physique. If you are lucky, you will get pics of him in his natural environment posing with a water bottle or weight. There is usually a tribal tat to be found somewhere on an overly muscled upper arm.

2. The Faux Pilot



I guess being a pilot ensures luck on Tinder, because I am surprised how many of them are out there. Posing in aviators and large headphones, this guy can be found outside an aircraft, inside an aircraft... or is that a car? Or bus? Wanna catch them out? Ask them what type of aircraft they did their PPL in and the number of solo hours they have logged.

3. The Adrenaline Junkie


Good luck seeing what this type actually looks like, because his face is usually hidden by a combination of mud, Oakleys, bandanna and more mud. Look at him tackle the wall in a Warrior race! You have no idea what he is like as a person other than the fact that he is the best pick should a zombie apocalypse hit. He will carry you to safety and not even break a sweat!

4. The Dubiously Single



At least one of his pics is with a girl he is holding a little bit too intimately to be his sister. Or better yet, he has a girl on each arm! Because this is every girl's dream, to see their next potential partner with other women! No wonder my ovaries are bursting in delight.

5. The Animal Lover



Because nothing is more adorable than seeing a guy posing with a lion cub that is destined for a life of confinement! Thank you for supporting the breeding of cute animals for our tourism industry! There are also the shirtless pics of him sleeping adorably with a dog or cat. Smells a lot like trying too hard to me.

What ever happened with natural photos? Oh, right. They died with the invention of the selfie.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: Firebolt by Adrienne Woods


Title: Firebolt (Dragonian Series #1)
Author: Adrienne Woods
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing (2013)

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.
Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.
I honestly am not normally a fan of self-published books, but this one really caught my eye and attention as soon as I started reading it. In fact, as soon as I started it, I had to make sure I had the next two, Thunderlight and Frostbite, waiting in the wings.

I really enjoyed the fast pace of the story and how it honestly was not like a lot of other YA's a have read. Woods has created a unique universe with fan characters and great dialogue.

You get the feeling that she is setting the scene for something awesome to follow in the next few books and Elena is a likable character who really grows as she learns about her heritage and the history of the world she finds herself thrown into.

My only criticism is the few formatting errors and typos, but this does not detract from the great story. And this touches on something that a lot of other bloggers and critics miss. You can hide a bad story with flowery prose, but a good story will find its' audience in spite of cosmetic flaws.

Give this one a shot and support local authors!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nandi Reviews - Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

(Nandi Baard-Ziller occasionally reviews books I simply cannot get around to. This time around, she gave Born Wicked a go!)



Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Penguin Books

Our mother was a witch too. But she hid it better.
I miss her.
To me, the magic feels like a curse. According to the Brothers, it’s devil-sent.
Woman who can do magic – they’re either mad or wicked. So I will do everything in my power to protect myself and my sisters.
Even if it means giving up my life – and my true love.


Set in the late 1890’s, in a society with strict moral codes where men are superior to women, and the Brotherhood rules society, Cate struggles to reconcile who she is and who society wants her to be.

The book is written from Cate’s perspective, and as the oldest of three sisters (all of them witches), she feels responsible for their well-being. 

The story follows their coming-of-age without a mother to guide them, the trials of being witches in a society where magic is evil, and a romance that needs to overcome many obstacles in order to survive. There are references in the book to major events in the history of witchcraft (particularly to the Salem Witch Trials), which adds great depth to the story and the experiences of the characters. 

It can be difficult to read a book set in a completely different time, but Spotswood does a fantastic job of setting the scene and making it relatable to the reader’s life.

This is a wonderful book with a fantastic mix of characters (some you will love, some you will hate, and others you will love and hate at the same time), and unexpected twists in the plot which will leave you wanting more. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I was very upset when I got to the end, realized it was the first book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles, and was sad didn’t have the second one to start reading as soon as I put this one down.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Top 2015 Books I Cannot Wait to Read (Part One)

There are some awesome titles being published this year, you guys! I fear for my wallet and sanity. :)

I have not done a listed post in a while, so here are my Top 10 2015 books that I absolutely cannot wait to read! Bearing in mind this is a purely subjective list as it does not include those

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
So I actually ordered this one from the States because I could not wait any longer for it to arrive in local stores. EVERYONE is talking about this book and I actually started it last night. So happy that my weekend is sorted!


2. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh



Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. 
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. 
This is a close second to Ember in the Ashes and I also received a copy in the same order. I am going to do a whole post of the gorgeousness of the US edition of the title. It is beautifully bound and i am sure the contents will match the cover!


3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. 
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
I am so, so excited for this one! I absolutely love Maas' writing and ability to write strong female lead characters. Plus, there is this wave of amazing YA / NA fantasy this year that just works for me.

4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. 
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
MEEP! Another awesome-looking YA fantasy! And that cover is gorgeous!


5. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


Wilhelmina has a hundred identities. 
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne. 
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone. 
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.
Another gorgeous cover and also a much-talked about book in YA blogger circles. I am sure my next order will include this title.


6. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey



Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known. 
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act. 
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it. 
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
I bought this one randomly and then read the back... wow this looks so unique! Plus local author Dave-Brendan de Burgh gave it a favorable review.

I am compiling the second half of this list, so keep an eye out for it and happy reading!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen


Title: Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Teens (2015)

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? 
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

This is Sarah Dessen's twelfth book and I cannot believe that I have read them all. She is one of those frustrating authors who can produce an amazing book that brings you to your knees and then her next one, while still good, simply does not compare.

Needless to say, I still get excited whenever a new one comes out because it's Sarah Dessen!

So i bought and devoured Saint Anything last weekend and I am please to report it is one of her better ones (see the end of the post for my top 5 books of SD's in order of preference). I was sad that the romance was not actually the main focus of this one, but I did enjoy the plot and characters. The thing is, I normally prefer the romance to take a backseat, but SD is just so damn good at writing it.

As always, it is with her cast of support characters where SD excels. She has created another group of people who are so well-formed that they feel real.

My heart broke for Sydney and her super-controlling mother. I wanted to literally hit that woman in the face sometimes.

Anyway, if you are a fan, you really should pick this up. I highly reccomend it. If you are an SD noob, here is a list of my top 5 of her books:


  1. The Truth About Forever
  2. Just Listen
  3. What Happened to Goodbye
  4. Lock and Key
  5. Along For the Ride

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review: The Novice by Taran Matharu


Title: The Novice (Summoner 1)
Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: PanMacMillan / Hoddler Children's Books (2015)


When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help. 
As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

I was fortunate enough to get an ARC of this title from PanMacMillan (THANK YOU!!!) and could not wait to get tucked in. I mean, just look at that cover. LOOK AT IIIIT!

Anyway.

This is the kind of book that reminds you of other books, but in a nice, warm familiar way. I was reminded of so many of my favorite books, games and films while reading this, but it somehow did not manage to be offensive like Eragon was. Remember Eragon? The most pointless, long-winded YA fantasy series ever?

Somehow, this book felt familiar and completely new all at the same time. I LOVED that. There were completely unique elements to the story that I had not read anywhere else.

The pacing of the story is excellent and sometimes even felt a little too fast, but at no time did I feel like I had no idea what was going on. Every part of the world Matharu introduces is done so tactfully that  it never feels like a giant info-dump.

If you are looking for some great action, awesome characters and dialogue, you cannot go wrong with The Novice. I have no doubt this this is going to be one of the top YA reads of 2015 and it would make an excellent movie.

The magic system is very interestingly handled and adds to the appeal of this series as it is quite fascinating to read about.

Oh, and did I mention I want my own demon? Igantius is freaking awesome and so cute.

So if you are wanting a fun yet intelligent read or something to get your teens into reading fantasy, this is the book to buy. I cannot wait for book 2, which I suspect will only be published in 2016.

Oh, and do say hi to Taran Matharu on Twitter at @taranmatharu1. :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale


Title: Geek Girl (Geek Girl #1)
Author: Holly Smale
Publisher: HarperCollins (2013)

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.  
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

I really enjoyed this book, in spite of the writing being more aimed at young teens rather than pure YA like the shelving choices in most bookstores suggests. It kind of reminds me of a series by Meg Cabot, Airhead. Only, Geek Girl is way, WAY better as I find Meg Cabot tends to force her style at times.

While I wish part of the story had been more fleshed out and the pacing more consistent, I still devoured this one easily. It is light-hearted and Harriet is a really enjoyable character to read about.

Having said that I doubt I will invest in the rest of the series as it really is written very simply for my tastes.

I do however recommend this for 12-14 year old teens who are looking for something a little more mature but aren't quite ready for the more traditional YA on offer. This is also a great series for any reluctant readers as it is simple without making the reader feel like they are being written down to.

Review: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson


Title: I'll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Pan Macmillan (2015)

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This is quite easily one of the best contemporary YA's I have read in a long time. It follows the story of twins Jude and Noah who used to be really close until something happened and changed their lives and relationship forever.

This is an interesting, refreshing novel that has a touch of the supernatural to it without it being overbearing or cliche. I absolutely loved the characters and how both the past and present unfolded from the different twins' point of view respectfully.

What really made me all squishy and happy inside was the art references and the fact that Noah's chapters were marked with paint smears on each page. It was a clever device to tell the difference between each viewpoint and also suited Noah's character.

There is romance and heartbreak and I really recommend this for fans of John Green who want something a bit more substantial to sink their teeth into. The writing is wonderful and at no time ever felt under or overstated. Nelson used just the right amount of words.

I really hope this book achieves wide success and highly, highly suggest that you set aside the time to read it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Event: Blogger's Social Evening - 11th April 2015



The evening of the 11th of April 2015 was possibly one of the most rewarding experiences in my 30-odd years.

Two months previously, I had the random idea of setting up a small event for local bloggers, much like the one Skoobs hosted in 2012. I had no idea what that idea would eventually grow into and I am so very thankful for everyone who supported me on the journey of setting up what will be the first of many similar events.

Yes, I did say many. I am so inspired by all the support and the discussions that were had that evening that I am simply itching to get another project in the pipeline!

But let me not diverge from the topic of this post.

I arrived at the venue 2 hours before it was die to start absolutely laden with boxes of goodies we were going to be giving away to 30 lucky bloggers later that evening. With the much needed help from Colleen at Skoobs, we sorted everything into the fantastic bags kindly donated by Tracey Loves History.

All the bags are packed, they're ready to go...


Just when I thought I had time to catch my breath and possibly grab a bite to eat, people started to arrive... early! I calmed what was left of my nerves and made sure everything was 100%.

The wine bar at Skoobs filled up pretty quickly with people digging in their goodie bags and enjoying the free welcome drink kindly supplied by Skoobs / JC Le Roux.

All too soon, it was time for me open up the discussion panel and hand the mike over to Lood du Plessis, who makes the most fabulous Emcee!

The panel engaged in serious discussion.

The panel was made up of Joanne Macgregor (author of Dark Whispers), Fiona Snyckers (Author of the Trinity series), Philani Dladla (The Pavement Bookworm) and Carlyle Labuschagne (Author of The Broken Destiny).

Wonderful turnout!

I wish I had been making notes, as the discussion was interesting and many good points were raised.

Some of the key take away points were:

  • The Blogger-Author relationship is key in reaching a broader audience
  • We need to make reading cool, that way kids will want to read
  • Do not be ashamed of what you read
  • Interfacing with your audience sells more books
  • Be authentic!
 I hope everyone had a good time. I really enjoyed meeting you all and making new friends!

A big thank you to PanMacMillan. JonathanBall Publishers, Firewater Light, Fourways Chiropractic, Tracey Loves History, Tracey MacDonald Publishing, Carlyle Labuschagne, Romy Sommer, Joanne  Macgregor, Fiona Snyckers and of course BooksLIVE for the KoboGlo giveaway!

(All pics in this post are used with the permission of Lu-Marie Fraser who rocked the camera!)